The Do’s and Don’ts of testifying in court

On March 28, 2014, in Blog, Trial, by sieditor


Testifying in court can be a horrible thing. Most citizen have never done it before and many people may never have to do it. Testifying in court is a situation where you must explain every details in front of complete stranger. Below is a list of Mr. Sedivy’s Higlands Ranch History on what you should do and don’ts when you find yourself in the middle of a testifying in court as a witness.

Testifying in Court: the DOs and DON’Ts


  • Tell the Truth!
  • Be yourself!
  • Be natural and use common language.
  • Try to avoid work related jargon or slang.
  • Your role is to testify, not to convince the jury.
  • Speak in a clear tone of voice.
  • Avoid covering your mouth or resting your chin on your hand while you arespeaking. Speak at a normal rate of speed so that the court reporter and the jury can hear your words.
  • When asked a question, pause, think about the question and think about your answer before you start talking.
  • Simple “yes” or “no” answers should be directed to the person who asked the question.
  • Longer, narrative answers, however, should be directed to the jury (or the judge if a jury is not present).
  • Answer the questions with a “yes” or “no,” if possible, then explain. Be brief and on point if a narrative answer is requested.
  • Avoid answering any question that you do not understand completely. Ask to have the question clarified.
  • I do not know or “I do not remember” are valid answers, if appropriate.
  • “I do not know” means that you do not and never did know something.
  • “I do not remember” means that you may have known something at some previous time, but do not remember it now.

To read this article in its entirety visit Mr. Sedivy’s Higlands Ranch History

Article Source: Mr. Sedivy’s Higlands Ranch History


20 Responses to The Do’s and Don’ts of testifying in court

  1. All common sense, but your assurances would put many witnesses at ease.

  2. Having been in court this is a great article on what to do and not to do.

  3. Kungphoo says:

    I have not had to do this luckily, but those are great tips if i ever need to go to court.

  4. veronica says:

    It is great that the Bible is still used in courts as the ultimate system of Justice. Even when they fight God and state, what’s True will always be True

  5. I have never had to testify and hope I never have to! It looks easy on TV; I’m sure it’s not such in real life.

  6. Alana says:

    I know someone who had to testify in court (about a crime she was a witness to) when she was a young teen. It was a horrible experience for her. I’m not sure if the prosecution ever prepared her for what she experienced. I hope I never have to appear in court. I think it would be traumatic for me, just knowing what my friend went through so long ago.

  7. Jenny Lam says:

    I’ve never had to testify in court before, but I have seen what witnesses have to go thru when I serve on jury duty. Sometimes, it can be stressful with all the questioning and cross-examining and twisting words around.

  8. My younger brother had to testify at a murder trial when he was 15. He had found and picked up the murder weapon without realizing what it was until later. (A knife with a broken tip.) Thankfully, we had a neighbor / friend who was a judge and was able to coach him in the way same you just have. It was still scary though. Nice article. I’m sure it will help someone. Take care.

  9. Leila says:

    I have only had to testify once in court (thank goodness) and I was a hot mess. These are great tips for anyone that has to testify. It can be scary and nerve wracking. These are great reminders to review before heading into a court room!

  10. Ashley says:

    These are great tips for those who have to testify. Luckily, I’ve never had to.

  11. Malia says:

    Luckily, I have never had to testify. I think I’d be nervous! These are good tips though.

  12. Nick says:

    I’ve never had to testify in court. But isn’t honesty the best policy?

  13. Sophie Bowns says:

    I hope I never have to do this- scary!

  14. I have had to do this a couple of times. The be yourself thing kind of gets me in trouble though. My sense of humor is not appreciated by a lot of lawyers.

  15. Tracie says:

    Great list. I like the reminder that “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” are okay answers. I think we all have a slightly skewed version of what testifying in court is actually like from watching crime dramas on tv.

  16. Great tips! I dint face court trial yet but one of friend would be happy to know it.

  17. jim Striegel says:

    I hope I am never in this position. Thank you for the information.

  18. Tom says:

    These are really great tips, I hope I never have to testify though

  19. Thanks for all of the info about how to testify in court:) There are so many fine details to know. I am hoping I do not ever have to go through this process:)

  20. katherine says:

    Very good post with wonderful points!

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