Tips on Testifying

Helpful Tips

If you receive a subpoena to testify in court, here are some things to remember:

  • Be on time - the judge will not wait for you to begin. If you are late or fail to appear, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
  • Dress neatly - the judge and/or jury will take note of how you present yourself. No shorts, tank tops, or sandals are permitted in the courtroom.
  • Tell the truth - if you do not know or remember the answer to a question, say so. Lying under oath could cause you to face numerous criminal charges.
  • Speak loudly and clearly - speak into the microphone slowly, giving a verbal answer to each question. Do not put your hands in front of your face when you speak.
  • Prepare yourself - Victim/Witness staff can assist in helping you familiarize yourself with the courtroom, answering your questions, or addressing your expectations.
  • Take your time - think about what you're being asked before you answer the question. If you do not hear or understand a question, ask the attorney to repeat it.
  • Do not -  smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink inside the court house. Also, please turn your cell phone off before entering court.
  • Be prepared to wait - the judicial process can be long and unpredictable. Make alternate arrangements to pick up children from school and/or daycare in case it is needed.
  • Remember - if the defense attorney makes you feel uneasy, remember, each is just doing his/her job. You are not on trial. You are in control of what you say and do. The defendant is on trial.

Additional Information

If you have any questions about your role as a witness or if you would like a courtroom tour before trial, please contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Program at 540-507-7667.