Testifying Tips

If you are required to testify, here are some helpful pointers:

  • Dress appropriately and make sure clothes are clean.  Pants and long sleeved shirts are best for men and women.  Try to cover up tattoos, and remove piercings, as both can be distracting. 
  • Always be on time.  Better yet, be early, as it may allow an opportunity to share additional information prior to the commencement of the hearing.
  • You will be required to wait outside the courtroom prior to your testimony.  After you are done testifying, you may remain in the courtroom unless you are subject to being recalled as a witness.
  • Never leave the immediate waiting area without permission from the prosecutor.
  • Speak clearly and loudly enough so the jurors and/or the judge can hear you.
  • Do not nod your head for a “yes” or “no” answer. Speak so the court recording system can record the answer.
  • Listen carefully to the questions asked of you, and answer to the best of your ability.  Ask to have the question repeated if necessary.
  • Answer only the questions asked of you.
  • Always tell the truth.  If you misspeak, or if you are misunderstood, clarify it immediately.
  • Only say what you actually remember.
  • Stop speaking when the judge interrupts, or when an attorney objects to a question.
  • Remain calm and do not lose your temper.
  • Don’t be afraid to say you have discussed your testimony before the trial with the prosecutor.
  • Do not talk about the case in the presence of the jury or other witnesses.