The outcome of an entire case can often depend on what a witness says and how a witness acts on the stand and in a deposition. That’s a lot of pressure.
In our years of experience as process servers and court reporters at DLE Legal we understand that it all begins before the actual proceedings. We’ve compiled some tips to guide you through the nuances of the process that could have a major impact on your effectiveness.
So, you’ve been served. More specifically, you’ve been served by a process server that knowns very little – if anything – about your specific case. They are not authorized to give legal advice. They are simply trying to protect your rights by notifying you of proceedings in which you are involved. If not for their hand-delivered notification, you could possibly miss your appearance in court as well as the chance to represent your side of the case.
Please treat your process server with respect. Don’t hide from them or pretend you no longer live at that address. Definitely do not ask someone to lie on your behalf; they could be charged with obstructing justice.
Understand that every process server attempt is recorded and presented to the presiding judge in your case. If you make it difficult for the process server to present you with the court documents, the judge will be aware of that fact. It will definitely affect your credibility as a witness.
Tell the truth from the beginning. The deposition is sometimes more important than your actual trial. You are under oath, and will be asked questions that will form the basis of the case at hand. This is your first chance to tell your side of the story, and it will stay with you for the life of the case to ensure that the story remains constant throughout the course of the suit. One of our court reporters will be present to record your responses and create a written transcript, which you should later review for any mistakes.
Use your words. We all communicate non-verbally with a nod of our heads or a shrug or hand gestures, but your words are what will be recorded by the reporter. We can only record what is spoken, and a non-verbal response will cause a break in the proceedings while we ask for clarification.
Don’t use too many words! Rambling can lead a witness off track and into dangerous territory, so stick to the topic of the question asked. Basically, tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Also, watch your side conversations. If you speak to the court reporter or opposing counsel before your hearing, those conversations can become part of a credibility challenge. Our advice? Bring a book or let your brain rest during a mindless gain of Candy Crush!
Listen, court cases and the places in which they transpire are usually stressful for those of us who don’t experience them on the daily. But if you keep your cool, treat those around you with respect and restraint, and understand that the process is there to protect your rights, you’ll do great.
If you need the services of respectful and professional process servers, look no further than DLE Legal. We’ve built a solid reputation in our industry and look forward to supporting your legal needs.