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Being a Witness

Keep in Touch
If you change address or phone number, contact the Sheriff or Police Department investigating your case. If the county Attorney filed a charge, notify that office. If you have been subpoenaed, call the County Attorney’s Office before you go to Court to make sure you don’t make an unnecessary trip. Court cases are often rescheduled for a variety of reasons.

Threats
On rare occasions, witnesses are threatened or harassed. Tampering with witnesses and harassment are crimes. If this happens, contact the appropriate law enforcement department and your County Attorney.

Pre-Trial Release of Defendant
Almost all Defendants are released prior to trial. To ensure the safety of others and the appearance of the Defendant at trial, release is subject to conditions imposed by the court. The conditions may include posting money (bail), hours, travel restrictions, and others. Your County Attorney may ask the court to amend the conditions if necessary.

Perjury
Knowingly making false statement of material fact of falsely denying knowledge of a material fact is perjury, a felony. If you are aware of possible perjury, contact the appropriate enforcement agency or your County Attorney’s Office immediately.

Giving Statements
Unless you receive a subpoena, you need not talk to a defense attorney, the Defendant, or anyone else connected with the defense. It’s all right to ask for identification before you agree to talk to anyone. If the defense wants your statement, they can subpoena you for a deposition (a formal sworn statement) at which the County Attorney will be present. If the Defendant requires a written statement, call your County Attorney.

Testifying
Witnesses must appear and truthfully testify under oath when subpoenaed. A subpoena indicates where you should be and when. The prosecutor may ask you to report to the office of the County Attorney first. Bring your subpoena along with you so that you may claim your witness and mileage fees after you testify. If you have any questions about your testimony, call your County Attorney.

Your Employer
When you receive a subpoena, check with your employer to find out what the company policy is regarding you appearances in Court both before trial and at trial. Policies vary widely and can depend on different circumstances. If you would like, your prosecutor handling the case can call your employer or provide a letter, which will explain the need for your appearance.