Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
Testifying in Court
- TELL THE TRUTH. The single most important item of advice is to tell the truth.
- DRESS NEATLY. It is important that you look good in court.
- BE PREPARED. Think about the answers you will give to the questions you probably will be asked.
- STICK TO THE FACTS. The judge wants to hear only the facts as you know them to be, not what someone else told you.
- RELAX, SPEAK CLEARLY. You have nothing to fear when giving true answers. When you are asked questions, give the judge your answer as clearly as possible.
- One of the basic rules in a criminal case is that both sides have the chance to question the witness. Questions asked by both sides have the same goal: to find out what is true.
- Don't let the defense lawyer upset you. It may seem at times he is trying to pin you down, but he has the right to test how many of the facts you know and remember.
- Answer all questions to the point. It is the responsibility of each lawyer to bring out the truth by asking questions.
- If you can answer a question with a single yes or no, do so. Answer only the questions asked. Do not volunteer additional information.
- If you don't know the answer to a question, say so.
- If you don't understand or didn't hear the questions, ask that it be explained or repeated.
- If either lawyer raises an objection, stop speaking at once. After the Judge has ruled, you will be asked to go on.