A deposition is an out-of-court oral statement given by witnesses under oath. Instead of a witness taking the witness stand to testify, a deposition takes place at a conference room or at an attorney’s office before a defense attorney, prosecutor and court reporter.
These oral statements allow the lawyers from both sides to learn the facts revolving around the lawsuit and gather clues that can help predict the outcome of a case. Whether you love them or hate them, depositions can greatly influence the direction your case will take and they can make a huge difference between winning and losing. With this in mind, how you handle depositions matters a lot as far as litigation is concerned.
In this post, we discuss important court deposition tips you should consider to help your case turn out the way you want it to. Read on to learn more about what to do and not to do when walking into a legal deposition.
The witness must receive notice at least ten days before the deposition stage. The notice may come through the form of a subpoena, which the attorney conducting the deposition must sign. Usually, the signature of a judge is not necessary at this stage.
Failure to show up for the deposition process after receiving notice or subpoena, the witness might be cited for contempt of court. Considering this, it is important to show up on the date indicated once you receive a signed notice from an attorney.
In some cases, the lawyer may make copies of documents, but this is only possible after issuing a Request for Production of Documents.
Having a good court deposition could go a long way to help settle your case before trial. With this in mind, you should never underestimate the importance of a deposition.
The Dos and Don’ts of Depositions
Now that you about witness rules, lets jump straight to the dos and don’ts of depositions:
- Do not attempt to answer a question you have not understood. Feel free to ask for clarification and think carefully before answering any question.
- Listen to the entire question before formulating your answer. Moreover, do not interrupt the questioner or try to outfox them during cross-examination.
- Always allow time for an objection from your attorney by taking your time before answering questions.
- Do not volunteer information. Only answer what you have been asked without expanding your response to avoid adding new information that may jeopardize your case.
- Don’t guess. If you don’t know an answer to a question, just say you don’t know.
- Keep your answers short and concise
- Always act professionally and stay calm during the deposition process
- Never respond angrily or emotionally when answering questions
- Do not bring documents to the deposition unless requested by your attorney
- Ask to take a break if you need to clarify an important point with your attorney
- Remember to be polite and cordial throughout the entire process
The success of your case depends on how you go through the deposition process. Follow the above-mentioned court deposition tips to have the best chance of success.