At some point, in the criminal justice process, you may receive a summons requesting your appearance at court. The Assistant District Attorney and Victim Advocate will meet with you prior to trial.
The following are helpful suggestions for witnesses. If you are testifying in court,
- You are sworn to tell the truth.
Always be honest when testifying. Telling the truth requires that a witness testify accurately about what he or she knows. As a witness in a case, it is your responsibility to tell the truth.
- Do not guess.
If you honestly do not know the answer to a question, please state so.
- Understand the question.
If you do not understand a question that is posed to you, please ask the attorney to repeat it or to clarify it for you.
- Take your time.
Give the questions the thought they require.
- Only answer the question that is asked.
Do not volunteer information.
- Speak in a loud voice.
What you have to say is very important. The jury needs to hear you. Keep in mind, most microphones in the courtroom are for recording purposes only, they will not amplify your voice.
- Give audible answers.
The court reporter needs to accurately record your answers. Do not nod your head.
- If an objection is raised.
Remain silent; the Judge must make a ruling of law. If the Judge deems the question admissible, you will be instructed to answer.
- Dress appropriately.
The courtroom is a formal setting and it is important for all witnesses to dress neatly and appropriately.
- Stay calm and be courteous.
Do not lose your temper, fence or argue with either attorney. Answer all questions, whether they are posed by the Commonwealth or the defense politely, and to the best of your recollection.