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Applying the lay opinion rule in Washington

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, witnesses are generally not allowed to give their opinions while testifying unless they are an expert witness. However, a layperson may be allowed to give opinions if it provides context or otherwise bolsters his or her testimony. There are several areas in which a layperson may provide opinions on the stand including whether he or she believed someone was sober or the physical condition of an individual.

A witness may also generally offer opinions about the value of his or her own property. In addition to possibly being able to offer opinions while on the stand, an individual may also offer extrinsic evidence. This may be done to cast doubt upon the credibility of another witness or otherwise prove other facts in a case. For instance, testimony may be used to establish another person was biased or otherwise corrupt.

It may also establish that another person is generally untruthful and cannot be trusted. In some cases, it may be possible to ask about a prior criminal conviction to establish that an individual may not be trustworthy or to provide context to a line of questions. This may also be done if asking such a question may reveal an inconsistency in earlier testimony.

A criminal conviction could result in jail time, a fine or probation. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Legal counsel may be able to create one or more defenses to that charge. For instance, it may be possible to argue that an individual was compelled to do something illegal against his or her will. It may also be possible to establish that there was no intent to do anything that was against the law.

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