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Procedures for Police Identification

Police car In situations where a criminal is caught red-handed, identifying the offender is not an issue. However, in many cases, the police must rely on the testimony of eyewitnesses to identify the perpetrator in a line-up, photo array, or a show-up. Before consenting to any of these, consult your Sacramento criminal defense attorney.

  • Line-ups. In a line-up, the police may have five or six individuals stand side-by-side next to each other. The witness will view the individuals, typically through a one-way mirror, to identify the offender.
  • Photo arrays. In some cases, the police may have the eyewitness flip through a book of photographs, commonly called “mug shots” to identify the offender. Other times, the police will line up the photographs so the eyewitness can pick out the person in question.
  • Show-up. With a show-up, the witness is put in a one-on-one confrontation with the suspect to determine if he/she is the offender. This method of identification is considered the most suggestive procedure, and eyewitnesses will often mistakenly identify the suspect as the perpetrator.
Constitutional Restrictions

If you have been wrongly identified as the perpetrator of a crime, there are constitutional restrictions on pre-trial identification that your Sacramento criminal defense attorney can use in your defense. For example, the due process clause prohibits unduly suggestive identification procedures. Additionally, you have a sixth amendment right to have counsel present at an in-person identification procedure once adversary proceedings have begun.

Research has shown that eyewitness identification evidence is incredibly unreliable and is the leading cause of wrongful convictions. A Sacramento criminal defense attorney can assist you if you have been incorrectly identified.

If you need the services of a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, call Param Pabla at (916) 285-7900 to schedule a consultation.

Client Reviews
“Mr. Pabla represented me with my DUI case. He has excellent communication skills and always kept me informed. Mr. Pabla made sure I understood the process and my rights. He eased my mind through a very stressful situation. I highly recommend Mr. Pabla.” Gurpreet
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“Param was excellent in my court case of failure to stop at a stop sign. The officer could not see clearly because he was too far away. The officer insisted he could and said he had video but could not produce it at the trial. The officer then asked if he could suspend the trial to go get the video but the judge said he should have had plenty of time to get the video ready beforehand. Needless to say, the judge ruled in my favor and dismissed the case which enraged the officer. Pabla Param’s defense and cross examination skills were excellent and paramount in having the case dismissed. Highly recommended.” T.C.
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