Depositions in a criminal case are the opportunity for the defense attorney to ask questions of the State’s witnesses. The defendant always has the right to depose any witnesses listed on the Trial Information. The defendant does not possess the right to take depositions in a simple misdemeanor charge.
If a defendant, along with his attorney, makes the decision to depose the State’s witnesses, the defendant must disclose the names of his witnesses to the State. Thus, taking depositions removes any surprises the defense might have in store for the State.
Depositions may result in a key fact being revealed which lessens the defendant’s involvement in the crime, or proves his innocence. This evidence can be used to negotiate a superior plea bargain or perhaps get the charges dismissed.
The taking of depositions will allow the defendant and his attorney to become more familiar with the State’s case, and thus they can be more prepared for trial.