Sep 16, 2018

You Are Here: Home / 16 Sep 2018

What Do I Need To Know About Testifying?

Categories:

Criminal Defense Attorney

Testifying in court can be a really nerve-wracking situation, and sometimes those nerves can really get in the way of the information that you are trying to provide, as a child pornography lawyer Grand Rapids, MI trusts knows well. So, if you are going to be called as a witness in a court case, here are some tips about how to handle it:

  1.     Make sure you are well-rested, and that you have eaten something.

While you’ll be sitting down in a chair during your testimony, it’s likely you’ll find being a witness to be an exhausting experience. You need to stay focused full-time while you’re on the witness stand. That’s hard to accomplish if you are running short on sleep.

It’s also important that you eat something before you go on the witness stand. Maintaining focus when you’re hungry is incredibly difficult.

  1.     Dress professionally.

Whether you’re testifying before a judge, or a judge and jury, how you look is going to make nearly as much of an impression as what you say. Dress like a professional, cover tattoos, and remove piercings. Try to appear clean and neatly groomed.

  1.     Pay attention to your body language.

Body language can say a lot. Pay attention to what you are doing. Don’t fidget. Don’t shake. Don’t cross your arms. Try to maintain an open and relaxed posture.

  1.     Tell the truth.

Your most important job as a witness is to tell the truth. Don’t worry about advancing an agenda. If you do, you will lose all credibility. Simply answer the questions posed to you truthfully.

  1.     Don’t fight with the lawyer.

Do not fight with the lawyer who is questioning you. They do this for a living. No matter how good you are, fighting with them will make them look good and you look bad. Be polite, and simply answer the questions that they ask of you truthfully. This is about answering their questions, telling the truth, and providing information. It’s not about winning. If you make it about winning, you’ll lose.

  1.     Don’t answer questions that aren’t asked.

Some witnesses get so stuck on what they want to say, they can’t wait for the lawyers to ask them the right question. So, they say what they want to say in a very non-responsive way. For example, if you’re asked, “Was the car blue?” don’t say, “It ran the red light.” Respond to the question you are asked. If the lawyers need to know whether the car ran the red light, they’ll ask you. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

  1.     Don’t say more than is necessary to answer the question truthfully.

If a question can fairly be answered with a yes or a no, answer the question with a yes or a no. If you find yourself saying “yes, but….” or “no, but….,” things are probably not going well for you.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Blanchard Law for their insight into testifying and criminal defense.