Character Witness Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Character Witness, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Character Witness?

a person who declares in the court of law another person’s morality,reputation and his character as an individual which is at stake in a criminal and civil cases involving theft,fraud etc.such a witness should belong to the same community as the accused and should have proper knowledge of his habits and qualities.

History and Meaning of Character Witness

A character witness is an individual who attests to the reputation and moral character of someone else during a trial or hearing. This witness often has personal knowledge of the defendant's habits and qualities, and may be called upon to provide testimony to help establish the defendant's character. The use of character witnesses has a long history in legal proceedings, dating back to ancient times when a person's reputation and character were essential to establishing their credibility and trustworthiness in society.

Character witnesses can be called upon in both criminal and civil cases, where a person's moral character or lack thereof may be at issue. The testimony of a character witness can be particularly important in cases where the defendant's reputation is being challenged, as it can help to establish their credibility and moral character in the eyes of the court or jury.

Examples of Character Witness

  1. In a criminal case, the defense may call upon a character witness to testify to the defendant's good reputation and moral character, particularly when facing charges related to theft or fraud.
  2. In a custody dispute, a parent may call upon character witnesses to testify about their fitness to care for the child, including their moral character and reputation in the community.
  3. In a defamation suit, the plaintiff may call upon character witnesses to testify to their good reputation in the community, helping to establish the plaintiff's damages and the extent of the harm caused by the defendant's statements.

Legal Terms Similar to Character Witness

  1. Reputation Evidence: Evidence that speaks to a person's general reputation in the community, which can be used to establish their credibility and trustworthiness in legal proceedings.
  2. Expert Witness: A witness who possesses specialized knowledge or expertise in a particular field, and is called upon to provide testimony in legal proceedings based on that knowledge.
  3. Material Witness: A witness whose testimony is considered essential to the outcome of a legal proceeding, and may be subject to court order or subpoena in order to ensure their appearance at trial.