Tips on Testifying

Dress Appropriately.

The way you present yourself is a reflection on you. It is to your advantage to dress neatly and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.

Tell the truth.

If called to testify, listen carefully to the questions asked. Make sure you understand each question and give an accurate answer to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer, be sure to say so.

Speak loudly and clearly.

It is the duty of the attorney to make a question answerable. If you did not hear the question or understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it. Stop speaking immediately if an objection is made by one of the attorneys.

Be courteous and keep calm.

Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Being polite makes a good impression. Do not argue with the attorneys or allow yourself to become upset during questioning.

Do not guess or speculate.

Be yourself and answer in your own words. Don't pause or try and figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case.

Be prepared to wait.

The court process can be long and unpredictable. However, your role is a very important one. Your cooperation and patience is necessary.


Smoke, chew gum, eat or drink anything while in the courtroom. Also, do not have alcoholic beverages the day you are to come to court.


If the defense attorney makes you feel uneasy, he is just doing his job. You are not on trial. You are in control. The defendant is on trial.

Threatening a Victim or a Witness is a crime in Virginia.

If you are threatened by the defendant or anyone else in regard to your testimony, immediately call your local sheriff's office or police department and notify the Victim/Witness Program at (540) 672-6380.