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David Turlington: What do you do if you've been called to testify?

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David Turlington from Turlington Law Firm answers the common question on what you should do if you have been called to testify at court.

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David Turlington: What do you do if you've been called to testify?

  1. 1. Q: What do you do if you’ve been called to testify? David J Turlington The Law Office of Turlington Law Firm David Turlington Law
  2. 2. What to Expect? – Attorney Perspective  Gather all information as much as possible.  Be brief and listen/read carefully.  Read all forms of communications before sending back a response.  Using images are a good resource.  ‘He said, she said’ claims.  Do not destroy any evidence. David Turlington Law
  3. 3. What To Do First… - Witness Perspective  Tell the truth.  Don’t answer a question if you’re not sure of.  Answer the questions that is only being asked.  When it doubt, ask to repeat the question or state you need more time to answer.  Give at least 5 seconds before you answer. David Turlington Law
  4. 4. At Trial • Relax • Dress Appropriately • Take a deep breath before answering. • Be ready with information and answer what is asked. • Give complete, concise answers. • Ack Bonner keyword David Turlington Law
  5. 5. What Am I Obligated To Do? Read the summons or subpoena carefully. Review the subpoena several times to be certain what is required of you, and to learn the hearing date and time. Gather any documents and/or materials named in the subpoena. Make sure you have all relevant materials in your possession, and keep them secure. Respond to the subpoena. If you fail to comply with or respond to a subpoena, you may be charged with contempt of court. Tell the truth. Lying under oath, or perjury, is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, depending upon the state. David Turlington Law
  6. 6. Who should I speak to? Your attorney or legal aid representative. If you have serious concerns about testifying, consult independent legal counsel to learn your rights. The attorney who contacted you. Discuss your obligations, what is expected of you, and your role in the trial. A witness assistant. If you have special needs (limited mobility, vision/hearing impairment), contact your witness assistant, whose contact information will be on your subpoena. Your human resources department. Alert the HR department at your place of employment about the court date. David Turlington Law
  7. 7. What are my rights? You have the right to support. If you fear for your physical or emotional wellbeing, you may contact a victim witness advocate for assistance. You may have the right to claim certain expenses. You may be entitled to a witness fee and to recoup some travel expenses. You will not receive reimbursement for lost wages. You have the right to reasonable protective measures. If you have been threatened by the defendant or associates of the defendant, contact law enforcement immediately. You have the right to be treated with respect. David Turlington Law
  8. 8. Can I avoid testifying? Yes, if… You need to assert your Fifth Amendment protection. You may refuse to testify if your testimony is self-incriminating. You are not competent to testify. If you suffer from an illness that diminishes your ability to recall details, you may be deemed incompetent. You are married to a material participant. Spousal communications are considered privileged. You are the attorney, psychiatrist, or priest serving a material participant. Conversations with legal counsel, physicians, and clergy are protected by law. David Turlington Law
  9. 9. Thanks for watching! David Turlington Law

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