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How can I answer those questions with 'Yes' or 'No' answers?
That's the dilemma all individuals face when they testify during a trial or a deposition. This guide outlines simple and precise procedures for testifying.
Know the facts, and please call Miller, Miller & Tucker, P.A. if we can help.
A witness in a trial (or deposition) may find him or herself unfamiliar with procedures, and have fears and uncertainties about what is expected or required of witnesses. This compilation of suggestions provides a brief explanation of what to expect on the witness stand or at deposition.
There are specific rules of evidence which lawyers must follow in Court. At times, these rules may seem unnecessary or frustrating, but they are directed toward one goal -- determining the truth in the case.
Guidelines For Witnesses
Being A Witness
It is your duty as a witness to give your testimony when needed. While it may not always be convenient for you to come to Court to testify, please keep in mind that some day you may be a victim, and your own case may depend on the willingness of a witness to come forward and tell what he or she knows.
As the case is being prepared for trial, it may be necessary for the attorney(s) who subpoenaed you to contact you. It is important to keep them informed of your current address and telephone number. If you move be sure to let them know.
RULE 2. If you do not understand a question, respond by saying, "I do not understand the question." Have counsel rephrase the question, explain or define any word that you don't understand. It's not impolite. You just don't understand the question. If counsel cannot rephrase the question so you can understand and adequately respond, that's not your problem. You need not help out.
RULE 3. If you knew the answer some time ago, but do not recall at the moment, say "I do not recall." Not everyone can remember which shoes they wore on a certain day. There is no disgrace in failing to recall certain details, especially when they are remote in time. Your accurate testimony is very important; that's why you were called.
RULE 4. If you are asked a question, and you do not know the answer, say "I do not know." Many witnesses think they have to know, or are expected to know the answer to practically everything asked of them while on the stand. No one can be expected to know everything. If you seem to, your entire testimony may appear rehearsed and unconvincing. When you don't know, you don't know, and such a reply is entirely appropriate.
The information expressed above should not be construed as legal advice but merely information on the law that may be of interest to you. Remember, individual legal problems require individual solutions. Please contact Miller, Miller & Tucker, P.A. if we can help.