If you get accused of a crime that you did not commit, you may feel shocked and surprised. It’s hard to imagine any other reaction. However, if a witness comes forward and says that they saw you carry out the crime, that may take your shock to another level.
How could this happen? This person doesn’t know you. You’ve never met. You can’t imagine that they’re doing this to you on purpose, so why do they think you committed the crime?
The problem could simply be that their memory is faulty. They’re wrong about what happened or what they saw, and yet they don’t know that they’re wrong. They honestly think that you did it and they think they’re telling the truth. That’s what makes this situation so tricky.
If it sounds impossible, scientists have discovered that this is exactly how our memories work. They change over time. You integrate new information into your “memory” of an event. Every time you recall it, it has the potential to change.
In everyday life, we see this happen in all sorts of different ways. People disagree on what they had for dinner, what the weather was like, if they were together for a specific event or what someone said to someone else. These little situations raise a lot of alarm bells for criminal accusations and other times when an inaccurate memory can have far more drastic consequences.
If you do get accused of a crime, especially when you think that a witness’s testimony is seriously flawed, you must know all of the defense options you have.