Helpful Hints for Witnesses
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
If you are appearing in your own case or a witness for someone else, being in a courtroom is a stressful experience, even for the witnesses. Read these tips before you go to court!
1. TELL THE TRUTH.
2. Listen carefully to the questions asked. Ask for an explanation if you do not understand the question.
3. Answer only the question being asked of you. Do not volunteer more information than what is being asked.
4. Don't rush into answering. Take time to think about the question and give a thoughtful answer. Do not take an unnaturally long time to answer a simple question.
5. Speak loudly and clearly.
6. You must answer a question with a verbal response. You cannot simply nod or shake your head; you must say "Yes" or "No".
7. Stop talking right away when the judge interrupts you, or when either attorney objects to a question. The judge will tell you when to start answering questions again.
8. Do not lose your temper. The attorney on the other side may try to get you to lose your cool with his or her questioning. Keep calm. Losing your temper will not make a good impression on the judge.
9. Never argue with the judge or any of the attorneys. Always be polite to the judge, attorneys, clerks and bailiff.
10. If you are asked a question and honestly do not remember what happened, say "I don't know." Don't guess or make up an answer.
11. Be on time to the court appearance. Give yourself extra time to find parking, get through security, and find the courtroom.
12. Do not bring any weapons, including knives or pepper spray, with you to the courthouse. Most courthouses have security at each entrance. You may have to open your purse and any other items you are carrying in with you. The security guards will take anything from you they consider to be a possible threat.
12. Leave your cell phone at home or in your car to prevent it from accidentally going off in the courtroom. If your cell phone rings while you are in court, the judge may take your phone. It is a sign of disrespect to the judge, when a cell phone rings in the courtroom.
13. When you are being asked a question by an attorney or judge, look straight at them. Do not look at the judge or your attorney for help in answering the question.
14. Don't try to memorize what you are going to say. Just spend some time to go over key facts in your mind.
15. TELL THE TRUTH.