Victim & Witness Responsibilities
Your Duties As A Victim Or Witness
You are a witness because you have seen, heard, or know something about a crime. You may not think that what you know about the case is significant, but it may be highly important. Many small pieces of information are often required to determine what happens in a criminal case.
To prevent delay and possible dismissal of a case, we must be able to contact you. It is important that you keep our office informed of your present address, telephone numbers, email addresses and plans you have for travel. Please keep us informed of any changes in your contact information.
Tips On Being A Witness:
- Dress neatly and conservatively for Court.
- Do not memorize your testimony, but try to review the facts before the trial.
- Relax, speak loudly and clearly, directing your answers to the jury.
- Be polite when answering questions. Do not lose your temper.
- Listen carefully to each question before answering.
- If you do not understand the question, say so.
- If you do not have an answer, say so. Do not guess.
- If your answer needs an explanation, say so and then explain.
- If you make a mistake in answering a question, say so and correct it.
- Give a well thought out answer.
- Give positive definite answers, avoiding answers such as "I think," "I believe," or "I guess so."
- Do not volunteer information. Give short answers if that is what is called for: "yes" or "no," if that is what is appropriate.
- Do not chew gum on the witness stand.
- Be on your best behavior in and around the courtroom. When court is not in session, jurors may be in the corridors, elevators, etc.
- Do not discuss your testimony with other witnesses.
- Do not make statements to the media prior to or during a trial without first checking with the Assistant State Attorney.
- Tell the truth.
What Do I Do If I Get A Subpoena?
- Call the number on the subpoena to confirm that you received the subpoena. Verify the best way to contact you and confirm the date and time of when you are needed.
- Subpoenas for specific intakes and depositions will have the specific date and time that you are required to appear. You will need to appear at that specific date and time.
- Subpoenas for trial will say a trial term beginning on a specific date at a time to be determined or until final disposition of the case. This means the case was set on a specific trial term. A trial term is typically two weeks out of the month. Your testimony may be needed at a specific time during that trial term. When you call to confirm receipt of the subpoena, you will receive instructions on how to proceed. It is important that you contact us upon receipt of the subpoena and keep us informed of your contact information because court dates can change even after a subpoena has been sent.
- If you are a victim and would like a Victim Witness Specialist to attend with you, please call the Victim Witness Department in your county.
- If you fail to appear you can be held in contempt of court.
Video Conference Instructions
If you are appearing by video conference, you will receive an email that has a link attached. Please click on the link and follow the instructions. It is very important when appearing, you are dressed appropriately, and in a quiet place with no background distractions. If you are experiencing any difficulties with the link, please contact our office.