We know that if is often inconvenient to be a witness in a court proceeding. However, the service that you provide is invaluable.

If you are subpoenaed by the State of Alabama to testify in a case, please review the following suggestions several times to assist you in testifying. They will make your court appearance easier and more effective.

  • You are sworn to tell the truth. Tell it!
  • Speak clearly. A court reporter needs to take down everything you say, so it is important to speak clearly. This is also very important in a jury trial. Avoid distracting mannerisms. While taking the oath, stand upright, pay attention, and speak clearly. Do not nod your head for a "yes" or "no." Speak so the court reporter can hear you.
  • Listen carefully to the questions.
  • If you do not understand the question, ask to have it repeated. If it is an improper question, an attorney will object.
  • If either attorney or the judge makes an objection, STOP until the judge tells you to continue.
  • If you don’t want to answer a question, do not ask the judge whether you must answer it. If it is an improper question, the prosecutor will take it up with the judge. Never ask the judge for advice.
  • Dress appropriately. Court is a serious matter, and you should dress neatly. Shorts, tank tops, T-shirts or clothing with offensive language or designs are not appropriate courtroom attire. A neat appearance and proper dress are important. Contact our office if you have any questions about what is appropriate for court.
  • Do not lose your temper or use foul language.
  • Never argue with the defense attorney.
  • Unless certain, don’t say, "Nothing else happened." Instead say, "That’s all I recall."
  • Answer only the question asked. Do not volunteer information not asked for. However, you may explain your answer, if necessary. If a question can’t be answered truthfully with a "yes" or "no," you have the right to explain your answer.
  • Testify only to the facts you observed or know.
  • Do not speculate or give your personal opinion unless asked to do so.
  • When being questioned by defense counsel, don’t look at the prosecutor or judge for help.
  • If your answer was not correctly stated, then correct it immediately. If you are not sure, do not guess.
  • When coming from the witness stand after testifying, wear a confident expression, but do not smile or appear downcast. After being excused from the stand, do not discuss the case in halls, restrooms or anywhere you could be overheard.
  • If you are asked if you've discussed the case before court, tell the truth. There is nothing to hide.
  • Your behavior out of the courtroom is as important as your behavior in the courtroom.
  • If you have children, arrange for childcare before you come to court. Children should not be brought to court unless they are included on a subpoena.

If you have any other questions about being a witness, please call our Victim Services Officer in your county, Jamie Hubbert-Gilmer (Marion County) and Crystal Till (Winston County). She can be reached at the respective phone number listed below.

Copyright © 2017  District Attorney - 25th Judicial Circuit, Alabama • Double Springs, AL • 205-921-7403 (Marion) / 205-489-2235 (Winston)