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A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial


A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial

A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial -Testifying DOES require preparation – this article helps you understand some common concepts, strategies and tactics about testifying in a Colorado criminal trial.

Perhaps The Most Terrifying Task You Will Experience – TESTIFYING IN COURT

The most effective witnesses are those who follow certain basic – foundational – rules for testifying.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 1: Work Hard To Be Prepared – While obvious – this rule cannot be overstated. Do not underestimate the amount of time you will need to prepare for your testimony – at least 5 to 1 in terms of actual time to prepare vs courtroom testimony – is a good rule of thumb.

Of course the more complex and serious the charges and evidence – the more time you will need to spend both with and without your lawyer.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 2: Read Everything In The Police Reports and Other Discovery: Know the case and have a command of what evidence the prosecution can bring to bear.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 3: Never Memorize The Questions and Answers: Never try to memorize the information in the case file. Even if your lawyer gives you the questions he or she may ask – do NOT memorize them and – or your answers. If you do – your testimony will sound rehearsed, superficial and phony.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 4 : If there are transcripts of your prior testimony – READ them and learn them. Sometimes there is a preliminary hearing or a motions hearing where a witness has previously testified under oath. The Colorado criminal defense lawyer should have that testimony transcribed and the witness should be very familiar with their former testimony before testifying again at trial.

Not only will this review help refresh their memory, – the witness will have a chance to correct a mistake made in the prior testimony that might be misinterpreted.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 5: Make certain you appear honest and impartial – Juries assign more weight to witnesses who appear as if they are being completely honest and factual in their testimony and if they demonstrate a fair and impartial attitude. Just state the facts – no opinions.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 6: Never volunteer information – if you do it will be interpreted by the jury as an attempt to “help” the defendant. Always answer the question asked and only that question – no long explanations.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 7: Beware of “evasive” answers – If you do not answer a direct question with a direct answer – it will be seen by a jury as an attempt to avoid an answer that could hurt the defense case. Evasive answers prove you are biased which can actually impact the jury in a way that is completely opposite to the case you are trying to make.

When a witness is evasive – he or she appears less credible.. less believable..

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 8: The need to be completely truthful. Total impartiality requires that witness to be completely truthful. The witness who “misstates a fact” is hurting the case – especially when another witness – unaware of the lie – testifies contrary to that fact. At that point – both witness’s credibility will be shot as the jury will not know who to believe and may end up not believing either witness.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 9: Don’t focus on the verdict. Your credibility is so important that if you focus too much on the “big picture” – you will appear to much more honest by putting your energies getting your testimony right. Leave the verdict to your lawyer’s view of how the case fits together.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 10:  Don’t favor answering questions from your lawyer as opposed to the opposing lawyer. Treat them both the same – professionally and with respect. You establish your impartiality by appearing to be a witness who is an “honest broker” of his contribution to the case and not by stiffening up on cross-examination and becoming immediately defensive when the opposing lawyer is asking the questions. Your demeanor as to each of the lawyers should be the same… leave the attitude outside the courtroom.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 11: Never lose your temper – never lose control. If the opposing lawyer makes you angry – her – she has won. Anger equals loss of control and bias. Resist the impulse to lose your temper no matter how annoying or obnoxious the opposing attorney has become. If you do this – you have won and your image is strengthened.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 12: Along with not losing your temper is the admonition to not be sarcastic or irritable. Answers such as “you already asked that question… or I said that – did you not hear me?” are taken by the jury as indications that you are a jerk and not to be taken seriously. Maintain your demeanor – never lose your temper – and never answer a question sarcastically.

If you don’t know the answer to a question – answer honestly ”I don’t know.” not only is this an indication that you are a truthful witness – juries will respect you for being sincere as a witness… “I don’t know,” or ”I can’t remember” are perfectly valid answers.

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 13: Beware of the “trap” of summarized testimony. When the opposing lawyer “summarizes” your prior testimony – listen closely. The lawyer will often – either deliberately or inadvertently – misstate that prior testimony. Immediately correct the lawyer – professionally – “I am sorry – that is not what I said – actually I testified that … “

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 14: Admitting you prepared for trial by talking to your lawyer – Never be afraid to admit that you prepared for your trial testimony by speaking to your lawyer.

This cheap tactic can easily be defeated if you answer – “yes – of course” we went over my testimony and I was told to tell the truth.”

If it is implied in the question – in strong terms – tell the DA you were not “coached” by your lawyer and that you did not speak to other witnesses in a group effort to “get your stories straight.”

How To Testify In A Colorado Criminal Trial – Rule Number 15: Have a sense of humor and do not worry about being nervous. It is all too human to be nervous when you are testifying in court. The jury will like you more if they see you are human – and – you are self effacing with a nice sense of humor.

A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article –A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg - Over 30 Years MedallionH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.


Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg regularly appears and provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the courts of:

Adams County (Adams County criminal defense lawyer), Arapahoe County (Arapahoe County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Boulder (Boulder County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Broomfield (Broomfield County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Denver (Denver criminal defense lawyer), Douglas County (Douglas County criminal defense lawyer), El Paso County – Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer), Gilpin County (Gilpin County criminal defense lawyer), Jefferson County (Jefferson County criminal defense lawyer), Larimer County, and Weld County ( Larimer and Weld County criminal defense lawyer,….

and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article – A Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer On: How To Testify In A Criminal Trial.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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