It is highly likely that you’ve never been a witness in court, but when that time comes, you should be ready to provide your side of the story without panicking or messing up. Here are a few court witness tips that you can use for your big day in the corridors of justice.
What You Should Do
Pay keen attention to your subpoena
A subpoena is a writ issued by the court requiring someone to testify or become a witness. Unfortunately, subpoenas are not optional, meaning you have to attend court if you are issued with one. With this in mind, pay attention to your subpoena since ignoring could run you into trouble.
Communicate openly with your attorney
Your attorney expects you to be open and sincere from the onset to enable them prepare a clear and workable strategy. It’s impossible for the lawyer to devise a plan if they do not know the full story.
Follow the advice of your attorney
Your attorney is the person best suited to ask for directions on how to conduct yourself once you are called as a witness. They will help you go through the entire process appropriately. Make sure you ask any questions you need to know before going to court.
Be honest and speak concisely
Honesty is a virtue that can help you have a smooth day in court. With that said answer all questions honestly and speak clearly and concisely. Nonetheless, do not go overboard by answering questions you haven’t been asked.
Dress decently for the trial preferably in a formal suit or a dress. In any case, the clothes you wear can go a long way to define your personality. Make sure your hair is kempt, and be conservative on the makeup.
What Not to Do
Do not come drunk
Going to court intoxicated is not only a sign of disrespect, but it could also put you on the spot. The judge or jury may not take your word seriously if they find out you are drunk or high on drugs. The same applies to normal medications. Avoid taking medicines that could make you drowsy or sleepy during the trial.
Do not daydream or wander
Always stay focused at all times during court proceedings. This will help you avoid making mistakes when it’s your turn in the witness stand.
Do not explain more than you’ve been asked to
You might be excited during your first time in the witness stand, but this does not imply you over-answer questions. Just answer the question asked unless prompted by the judge, prosecutor or your attorney.
Do not ask for a break at trial
Do not request for a break midway through a trial. You should instead wait until the judge calls for one.
Do not answer something you did not understand or hear
Do not rush to answer a question you have not understood properly, as this could turn disastrous in the end. Instead, have the questioning lawyer to expound or ask the question again.
Do not try to be humorous
Being a court witness is a serious business with no room for humor or unnecessary drama. Trying to be sarcastic or humorous could run you into trouble with the judge, and you may end up in contempt.