What NOT to Do When Testifying Number

WhatNOT to Do When Testifying


WhatNOT to Do When Testifying

Inthe court system, there is entailed with cases which most of thementails giving of testimonies. As a professional law enforcementofficer (PLEO), there are the Do’s and Don’ts that one issupposed to observe when testifying, or preparing to testify, in acriminal case (Garland, 2011). This paper includes a minimum of 21items that a PLEO should not do, during the testifying or whenpreparing to testify in any given case.

  • As a PLEO, one should NEVER perpetrate or commit perjury while testifying. Perjury is referred as, knowingly telling a lie under oath about something that is important to a case that one is testifying in. If a PLEO commits perjury while testifying, the officer is subject to losing his or her job, and may as well face imprisonment and a fine, the defendant may be acquitted, which is a negative reflection professionalism and integrity of law enforcement (Garland, 2011).

  • You are not supposed to take things personal when testifying. When testifying in a court, the questions keep on coming, and it’s key to never take any of the questions personally. This prevents one becoming emotional in any case.

  • Do not be rude to the attorneys, and the judges. Rudeness is the lack of manners and being discourtesy to the court. When an officer is termed is rude, to the court, his or her testimony may be disregarded by the court.

  • Always control your anger. Do not be angry. A testifying officer is not supposed to be angry and courteous even if the questioning attorney may appear discourteous. This is because, when one is angry is possible for him/her to easily o appear emotionally unstable exaggerate or appear un-objective.

  • Do not “nothing else happened” or “that’s all of the conversation” this gives one no room for additional information when you remember, instead, say, “That’s all I recall”.

  • Do not be combative. Combative is the element of being eager to fight back or being aggressive. In cases where attorneys get nasty, stay cool and answer the questions or give your testimony. Attorneys may use the combativeness to bait one of anger and in turn becoming an incredible witness, and in turn being a negative aspect through the witnessing process (Garland, 2011).

  • Do not be stumbling. Stumbling is the aspect of making mistakes or repeated mistakes while speaking. Testifying involves a lot of speaking and when one stumbles through his testimony, the jury may lose faith in what the officer is giving. This negatively affects one`s testimony in a court.

  • As a testifying officer, avoid being halting, hesitant or being arrogant/inaccurate, this may lead to the court and the jury doubting the witness. Confident and straightforward witness enables the jury to have faith in one`s testimony (Garland, 2011).

  • As a testifying officer, always read your incident report before going to the court and do not ask the prosecutor for a copy of your report. This shows lack of seriousness in the case or to the testimony (Tyson Jr, 1998).

  • Do not give guessed answers. When asked questions during the testimony process do not guesses, but the truth and facts. If you do not know just say, “I don’t know”. Guesswork discredits one`s testimony in the court (Garland, 2011).

  • Do not attempt to answer questions, which you have not heard correctly. Always be sure to understand the questions before answering, instead ask for a question to be repeated if you haven`t heard correctly (Tyson Jr, 1998).

  • Be serious in the courthouse. Do not bring or act in any jokingly way when giving the evidence. PLEO evidence is likely to be considered when the officer is serious with and when giving the testimony in the court (Garland, 2011).

  • A testifying officer is not supposed to memorize his/her testimony. Instead, he/she is supposed to know the facts. This gives one the right frame of mind when the questions come. The memorizing of evidence may lead to confused statements during question time and in turn discrediting one`s testimony in a court (Weinlein, 2012).

  • When in the court giving the testimony, always avoids folding of arms across the chest, this makes one look defensive and as if one doesn’t give attention to the questions from the attorneys.

  • Other gestures that should be avoided when giving testimonies in the court include keeping one`s hands on one`s mouth. Some of these gestures make one seem to be a liar or unconfident with the testimony (Tyson Jr, 1998).

  • Do not speak unclearly (mumble). The officer is always supposed to converse clearly and with self-confidence. He/she is supposed to always sit up straight. This shows confidence in oneself and in turn, the testimony has a high possibility to be accepted or believed by the judges (Garland, 2011).

  • Do not get up and depart from the court by just assuming that the questioning or testifying process has ended, always remain in your respective position (seated) until the judge tells you that you are excused.

  • Do not spar or even take sides in any case, instead treat both sides the same. As a testifying officer, one is required to give the correct information. Sparing is seen a negative defensive tactic and may lead to lack of trust in an officers testimony (Weinlein, 2012).

Inconclusion, from the above given points, it is clear that, as aprofessional law enforcement officer, one is supposed to keep andobserve some requirements for different reasons. There are numerousand key aspects that the officer is not supposed to do or behave whentestifying. This is key to the testimony given, the case, as well asprotecting his job within the court. It is in turn vital for theofficer to keep the points in mind and avoid them at all cost duringthe testifying process.


Garland,N. M. (2011). Criminal evidence (6thEd.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

TysonJr., R. F. (1998). How to Successfully Testify At YourDeposition.&nbspJournalOf Financial


Weinlein,C. W. (2012).&nbspTheart of witness preparation: How to prepare your witnesses to testify

effectivelyat civil trials, hearings, and depositions.