Is there anything I should know when coming to court to be a witness?
- Prepare: Refresh your memory so you can avoid confusion. Before testifying, picture the scene, the objects, the persons and what occurred. Review all statements you provided to the police and if you were deposed, review your deposition.
- Dress Appropriately, Act Courteously: Court rules specify that witnesses shall be properly attired. Dress comfortably, but conservatively. Be respectful and answer the questions asked.
- Speak Clearly and Loudly: Everyone in the courtroom must be able to hear distinctly what you have to say. An inaudible voice or mumbling detracts from your testimony and may give the impression that you are not certain of what you are saying. Don’t be afraid to speak up – you are not on trial.
- Be Honest: A trial is a serious and important matter. The court wants the facts.
Don’t exaggerate or try to slant your testimony. Answer the questions asked to you by both the prosecutor and defense attorney. Tell the truth.
- Answer all questions directly: Follow this simple guide:
- Listen carefully to the question. Take time to think about your answer.
- Answer the question asked, no more.
- Speak distinctly and loud enough for the judge and jury to hear you.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.
- Don’t try to answer a question you do not understand. Ask that it be explained
- Don’t argue with the attorneys
- Sometimes, the court may limit certain testimony based on the rules of evidence or case law. The prosecutor will inform you of this. Follow what the prosecutor tells you.
Above all, think before you speak and always speak the truth.