Being a witness may take some of your time. Bringing a defendant to trial can be a lengthy process. Cooperation of the witnesses and involvement in the criminal justice system is the first step in successful prosecution.
Tell the Truth - The single most important advice is to tell the Court exactly what you remember.
Dress Neatly - It is important that you dress neatly for the Court.
Be Prepared - Think about the answers that you will give to the questions that you expect to be asked.
Listen - Listen to the question being asked, then answer that question.
Stick to the facts - The court wants to hear only the facts that you know, not what others have told you.
If you, as a witness to a crime, receive a threat from the defendant or from any other person in relation to your case, you should immediately report it to your local police agency. Be sure to explain that you are a witness to a crime and that you have been threatened relating to the crime.
- One of the basic rules in a criminal case is that both sides have the chance to question the witness. Questions asked by both sides have the same goal: to find out what is true.
- Don't let the defense lawyer upset you. It may seem at times he is trying to pin you down, but he has the right to test how many of the facts you know and remember.
- Answer all questions to the point. It is the responsibility of each lawyer to bring out the truth by asking questions.
- If you can answer a question with a single yes or no, do so. Answer only the questions asked. Do not volunteer additional information.
- If you don't know the answer to a question, say so.
- If you don't understand or didn't hear the questions, ask that it be explained or repeated.
- If either lawyer raises an objection, stop speaking at once. After the Judge has ruled, you will be asked to go on.