Witness Guidelines for Courtroom Testimony

  • BE PREPARED. Before you testify, try to remember the scene and what happened. Do not try to memorize your testimony, just be prepared to tell what happened in your own words.
  • BE HONEST. You will be sworn to tell the truth at all times. Do not guess or make up an answer.
  • LISTEN CAREFULLY to the questions. If you do not understand a question, ask that it be explained or repeated.
  • THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. Give accurate answers to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer to the question, or if you do not remember, say so.
  • ANSWER only the questions that are asked of you. Do not volunteer information.
  • DRESS NEATLY and appropriately for court. Avoid distracting mannerisms such as chewing gum while testifying. Be serious and avoid joking.
  • STOP when the judge interrupts you or when an attorney objects to a question. Wait until the court gives its ruling. You will be told when to continue.
  • BE COURTEOUS, even if the lawyer asking questions is not. It is important NOT to lose your temper or argue with either attorney. STAY CALM at all times while being questioned.