Three Approaches to Identification

A criminal defense attorney in King County is well-versed in police identification methods. Three common approaches that the police use in pre-trial identification by witnesses include the show-up, the line-up, and the photo array. All three are covered by the constitution’s due process protections that prohibit overly suggestive identification methods.

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The Show-Up

In the show-up identification process, the witness often comes face-to-face with the suspect shortly after the crime. The police arrange the encounter to see whether the witness can recognize and identify the perpetrator. The outcome of the show-up may determine if the suspect is held or prosecuted. A great deal is riding on it, even though this form of identification can be suggestive, defense experts report.

The Line-Up

In a line-up identification, the witness typically stands behind a one-way, see-through mirror so that he or she is not seen by the suspect. The suspect is grouped with about a half-dozen other individuals, either standing or seated, and the witness is asked to make the identification.

The Photo Array

The third type of identification is conducted through photographs. The police may present the witness with a book of arrest photos of different individuals and ask if the perpetrator can be identified among the “mug shot” images. Photos may be organized with similar-looking people grouped together as a measure to reduce any suggestiveness in the process.

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It is important to know that once the legal proceeding begins, a defendant has the right to have a lawyer present during any in-person identification session. If you have been accused of a crime, put an expert criminal defense attorney in King County on your side to ensure protection of your rights. Call

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