Can a person be convicted on only the wordof the alleged victim?

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Can a person be convicted on only the wordof the alleged victim?

My husband filed civil and criminal complaint against me for kicking a case of water that was in his hands. He also accused me of choking, scratching and kicking him in the stomach while he was holding the case. I kicked the case of water but did not do the other things. There were no witnesses so it’s my word against his. We’re in the process of a bitter divorce. Can I be convicted of second degree assault for kicking the case of water because he was holding it?

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer is yes, a person can be convicted based on just the testimony of the alleged victim, if  that testimony is sufficiently credible and compelling that it convinces a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense was committed. The defendant can, of course, testify in her own defense, and relative credibility will be weighed by the jury; they should also weigh other factors, such as if one or both parties have some reason to lie (e.g. to gain an advantage in the divorce; or because of emotional issues bound up in the divorce). If you are actually charged, you need to take it seriously and get legal representation to help you.


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