In a trial the prosecutor will have people testify who were witnesses to a crime. When the witness is on the stand being questioned by the prosecutor, that is called direct examination of the witness. When the prosecutor is done asking questions, the other attorney, the one representing the accused, will get up and ask questions of that witness. That is called cross examination.
The big difference between the two, direct and cross, is that on cross examination the attorney gets to ask leading questions. A normal question would be, “what color car were you driving the day of the collision?” A leading question would be, “you were driving a red car, isn’t that true?” A leading question states a fact.
The purpose of cross examination is to 1) extract favorable information from the witness, 2) test the knowledge and memory of the witness, 3) expose any bias the witness may have, and 4) expose any prior contradictory statements.
An attorney who can use sharp and hard hitting cross examination questions will have an advantage in winning at trial. A lawyer who is very effective at cross examination can make it seem as though the prosecution witness has no credibility.
If you are being accused of a crime, or you are being investigated for a crime, you should immediately consult with an attorney who is skilled in the practice of cross examination. San Diego criminal lawyer Timothy J. Richardson is an award winning trial attorney who has won many criminal cases, and he offers a free consultation.