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Witnesses play a key role in any court case. These individuals provide information that can help a judge determine the outcome of a case. Did you know that there are different types of witnesses? If you have a legal background or watch criminal shows and movies, you may be familiar with the differences between fact witnesses and expert witnesses. However, not everyone knows what these witnesses do and how they are different. Let’s take a look at the differences between fact and expert witnesses.

What Is a Fact Witness?

A fact witness is a person that has seen, heard, or experienced facts or events related to a case. This can be the victim of a crime or a person who saw a crime be committed, such as a business owner, bus driver, or family member. The key element that all fact witnesses must have is that they were at the scene of a crime and have firsthand accounts of what they are testifying about. For example, in a hit and run case, the victim’s spouse that saw the truck that hit their loved one would be a fact witness. They saw the crime happen and can testify with when and where it happened, as well as any information about what the truck and driver looked like.

What Is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is a person that doesn’t have direct involvement with a case, but is knowledgeable about a subject related to the case. Instead of facts, these individuals testify with their opinions about the facts and events of a case. If the case is about drugs, an expert witness may be a scientist who can testify that the white powder found at a crime scene was cocaine. The scientist did not see the crime, but can use their expertise, skills, and methodologies to form an expert opinion needed for a case.

How Are They Different?

As you can see, the major difference between fact and expert witnesses is their involvement with a case. Fact witnesses are only allowed to share the facts and events relevant to a case. They must have heard, seen, or did something directly related to a case. On the other hand, expert witnesses are only allowed to express their expert opinions about the factual evidence of a case. Expert witnesses do not have any involvement with a case other than their expertise about facts or events related to a case. These distinctions are important, especially when you are gathering evidence for a case. 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s latest article, which discussed how fact witnesses and expert witnesses are different. Both types of witnesses serve a key purpose that is beneficial in determining the outcome of a case. If you are in need of help with a criminal investigation, contact PATRIOT Backgrounds and Investigations in Davie, FL today. Our team of experts have decades of experience, skills, and knowledge that can help you with your case and much more.