Tips on Testifying

Be Prepared

Try to recall what happened and picture the scene and objects there. Don’t try to memorize your testimony; simply be prepared to tell what happened in your own words.

Be Courteous

Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Your behavior on the witness stand will affect how your credibility is viewed.

Tell the Truth

Don’t try to figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case. Just answer truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t know the answer, then say you don’t know.

Speak Clearly & Loudly

Everyone must be able to hear and understand your testimony. An inaudible voice detracts from your testimony and may make the court think that you are not certain of what you are saying.

Answer Only the Questions Asked of You

If you do not understand a question, ask that it be explained. It is the duty of the attorney to make the question clear. Do not volunteer information and remember to stop immediately if the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to a question.

Be Prepared to Wait

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has significantly reduced the amount of time a witness spends in court. However, occasionally a witness may be requested to remain nearby for a period of time.