VOLUNTARY WITNESS A voluntary witness shows up at the request of an interested party to the case such as a victim, plaintiff, defendant or an attorney working on the case.
SUBPOENAED WITNESS A witness who has been served or formally received a subpoena or court order to appear in Court. If you receive a subpoena, you should read the subpoena carefully and call the clerk of the Court if you have any questions. You should appear in court on the date and time indicated on the subpoena or risk penalties from the court. If you cannot testify on the date subpoenaed, then you should notify the Court Clerk as soon as possible to discuss.
TIPS FOR TESTIFYING
- Tell the TRUTH or risk going to jail for perjury
- Answer ONLY the question asked
- If you don’t understand the question, ask for the question to be clarified or repeated
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, then say “I don’t know”.
- try to keep control of your emotions while testifying, if possible
- don’t take it personal if an attorney questioning you seems to imply that you are dishonest or tries to start an argument with you
- Do not give your opinion or start guessing unless the Judge asks for your opinion
- avoid rambling sentences, stop talking when you realize you are no longer answering the question asked
- shorter answers are better
- SPEAK LOUD ENOUGH AND CLEAR ENOUGH for the judge, attorneys and court reporter, if present to hear you
- avoid use of body language if a court reporter is recording the court hearing
- if attorney states “objection”, stop talking until the judge says to continue testifying