How to get your witnesses to appear in court to give testimony

24 May 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


Many people are unwilling to appear in court due to fear or a lack of acquaintance with the court system. Also, due to the protracted nature of court cases, potential witnesses fear losing time off their work or businesses if they are to attend the court sessions. Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges and have witnesses to prove your innocence, then the key question revolves on how to get the testimony from these witnesses to help in your criminal case. With the help of a criminal attorney, here are several ways you can go about getting witness testimony.

Ask the potential witness

Not everybody is hesitant about testifying. For instance, a relative may opt to act as a witness in a separation case. A day care worker or teacher may be available to say who picks up the kids or assists with homework in a child custody court case. Neighbors can be willing to freely testify to an offense that they saw in the neighbourhood. With the help of your criminal attorney, you can explain to the witness the importance of their testimony in the case and whether they are ready to testify.

Subpoena the witness

A court has the power to force a possible witness to give evidence by issuing a subpoena. A subpoena is basically a court order that instructs an individual to come in front of the court to give evidence or provide testimony regarding a given case. Therefore, the accused person through their criminal lawyer will petition the court and indicate valid reasons why the subpoena is important in the case. When summoned to court through a subpoena, the witness cannot refuse to obey. If they do so, the court may charge the witness with being in contempt of court.

Pay the witness

You can also offer to pay a fair sum to cover the travelling expenses of the witness as well as sum representing payment for the witness' loss of time incurred resulting from him or her having to appear in front of the court. The sum of money paid will depend on the distance of the court, the duration of the witness' attendance in court and what specific losses the witness is bound to suffer. Settling on a suitable amount requires open dialogue as on one hand leaving the witness out of pocket may cause him or her to be less cooperative while on the other hand, a generous amount poses the risk that you are actually attempting to buy the witness' testimony. Be sure to consult with a lawyer like Russo Lawyers before offering the witness money.