Before you take the stand at your DUI trial, your Pierce County criminal defense lawyer will talk to you at length about how you need to present yourself. If this makes you nervous, that’s okay—jurors will expect you to be nervous because you’re not a professional witness or a practiced public speaker. So that you may do your best, here is a list of basic information and advice:
- Listen carefully to every question. You’ll want to hear the exact question being asked—by either your Pierce County criminal defense lawyer or the prosecutor – so that you can answer that exact question.
- Briefly pause—even count to three—before you answer each question. Not only does this give you time to formulate an answer, it also gives your attorney time to object.
- Even if you think an attorney has misworded a question, and is actually looking for a different answer, don’t provide it. Answer only the question you’ve been asked.
- Keep your answers short and to the point. Never provide any information that wasn’t requested.
- Look at the jury when you testify. Look for a friendly face, and make eye contact with that person. That person may feel connected to you, which could help you during deliberations. Looking down or over the jurors’ heads will make it seem like you’re avoiding them, which could be equated with lying.
- If you can demonstrate something—with your hands or a facial expression, whatever is appropriate—do it. Juries love visuals.
- If you can’t remember or don’t know the answer to a question, say so. “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” are acceptable answers. The worst thing you can do is blurt out something that later proves to be untrue.
- Don’t be afraid to show your feelings. You want the jury to see you as a human being with whom they can sympathize.
For more advice on taking the stand in your DUI trial, contact a Pierce County criminal defense lawyer. You can reach me by phone or email, or by submitting the Free Case Evaluation form on this page.