Clay County States Attorney

Victim / Witness Assistance

Tips for Testifying

Testifying during a trial, motion hearing, or grand jury proceeding is not an easy thing to do, and it is common to feel nervous or uneasy.  Here are a few tips to help prepare you:   

  • Tell the Truth.  There is no wrong answer to a question asked as long as you are telling the truth.  If called to testify, listen carefully to the questions asked of you.  Make sure you understand each question and give an accurate answer to the best of your ability.  If you do not know the answer, be sure to say so. 
  • Do Not Guess or Speculate.  Be yourself and answer in your own words.  Do not try to figure out if your answer will help or hurt the case, just answer honestly and to the best of your ability. 
  • Be Courteous.  Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper with the attorneys asking questions of you.  Being polite makes a good impression. 
  • Speak Loudly and Clearly.  It is the duty of the attorney to make the question answerable.  If you did not hear the question or understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it.  Stop speaking immediately if an objection is made by one of the attorneys and wait for the Judge to rule on the objection before responding. 
  • Dress Appropriately.  The way you present yourself can be viewed as a reflection on you.  It is to your advantage to dress neatly and conduct yourself in a courteous manner. 
  • Be prepared to wait.  Unfortunately, the court process can be long and unpredictable; however, your role is a very important one.  Your cooperation and patience are necessary.
  • Do not vape, smoke, chew tobacco, chew gum, eat, or drink anything while in the courtroom.  Also, do not have alcoholic beverages or consume illegal drugs or substances the day you are to come to court.  Water is available and will be provided to you should you need it during your testimony. 
  • Turn off or silence your cell phone before entering the courtroom.  Cell phones are prohibited from being utilized in the courtroom. 

Remember:  If the defense attorney makes you feel uneasy, he or she is just doing their job.  You are not on trial, and you are in control.  The defendant is the one that is on trial.