Points to Consider for Being a Good Witness

  • Remember, you do not have to discuss this case with anyone unless you want to. If you are unsure about who is speaking to you, contact the prosecuting attorney or a Victim/Witness Kokua Services Advocate.
  • Review the case in your mind a day or two before your court date. Visualizing the incident will help you recall details you may have forgotten.
  • Listen carefully to each question and wait until the question is finished before giving an answer.
  • Relax, tell the truth as best as you can remember it. Take your time. Pauses before your answers indicate that you are taking the question seriously and thinking before speaking. Remember to breathe deeply to help relax.
  • Speak loudly and clearly; your testimony is useless unless you are heard.
  • You only need to answer the questions asked of you; do not volunteer information.
  • After you are asked a question and you hear an attorney say “Objection”, do not answer until you are told to answer.
  • If you do not understand a question, it is alright to ask that the question be repeated or clarified.
  • If you do not know an answer, say so; do not give attorneys answers you think they want. If you do not remember, say you don’t remember, not that you do no know. Do not guess if you are not sure of the answer.
  • If you make mistakes in answering, correct yourself as soon as you realize your mistake.
  • If you feel like crying, you may; this is a natural reaction.
  • Do not lose your temper, even if you feel angered by the questions. Stay calm even if the attorney seems rude or makes you angry. Do not argue with the attorney.
  • Do not discuss the case in the halls, restrooms, or anywhere you could be overheard. Your behavior out of the courtroom is as important as your behavior in the courtroom.

We also suggest that you:

  • Remember to dress appropriately when you come to court. You may want to bring a sweater or jacket because the courtroom is cold.
  • If you have small children please make arrangements for child care before coming to court.
  • Bring a book or magazine to read in case there is wait prior to being called to testify.
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