What to expect when you are subpoenaed as a Witness:
First, what is a subpoena?
As a witness in a criminal proceeding you have been requested to appear in court to testify. A subpoena is a court order directing your appearance at the Beaver County Courthouse. Once you have been subpoenaed you are required to appear as ordered until excused. Failure to appear may be regarded by the Court as contempt. It is very important that you communicate with this office if you cannot appear as directed. If your subpoena states to call the District Attorney’s Office to be put on 1 hour call, please call 724-773-8550. We do not want you making unnecessary trips if you are not needed that day.
It is your duty as a witness to give your testimony when it is needed, even though it may not be convenient for you to leave your home or place of business to spend one or more days in court. Please remember that justice cannot be accomplished unless people are willing to appear and testify in court.
Tell the truth!
When testifying, do not guess at a question or give false information.
When the Assistant District Attorney calls you to testify, he or she will question you as to the specific facts within your knowledge. After this direct examination is completed, the defense attorney will have the opportunity to ask you questions relating to the same facts. This is called cross-examination.
Don’t let cross-examination upset you. It may appear at times that the defense attorney is trying to contradict you, but he or she has the right to test your memory and knowledge of the relevant facts in order that the judge and jury can properly regard your testimony.
Listen Carefully Before Answering Questions
- Understand the question before you answer.
- Have it repeated if necessary.
- Think before you answer and do not rush into answering.
- Answer only the question asked. Do not give your opinion unless you are specifically asked for it.
- Give positive, definite answers and avoid saying, “I think”, “I believe” or “In my opinion”.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so.
- If you don’t understand the question, don’t try to answer, but ask that it be explained.
- Stop instantly when the judge interrupts you, or when an attorney objects to a question. Wait until objections are ruled on before answering.
- Do not volunteer information that is not actually asked for. Remember the judge and jury are only interested in the facts.
- Speak clearly and loudly. Everyone in the courtroom must be able to hear what you have to say.
- Although the experience of testifying is unnerving, the judge and jury can only consider what they are able to hear and may judge your truthfulness by the confidence in your voice.
- Don’t be nervous and try to relax as much as possible – you are not on trial.
- Speak as though you are simply telling some neighbors what happened.
- If the judge or jury gets the impression that you are bored or indifferent, they may tend to disregard your testimony.
Appearance and Attitude
· Dress appropriately and always be courteous.
· Do not chew gum or wear sunglasses or a hat when testifying.
· Your appearance and manner should not distract the judge and jury from careful consideration of your testimony. If you don’t take yourself seriously, as shown by your dress and attitude, why would the judge or jury take your testimony seriously?
The Beaver County District Attorney’s Office is located on the second floor of the Beaver County Court House at:
810 3rd Street, Courthouse
Beaver, PA 15009
Parking is available in the Parking Garage next to the Beaver County Courthouse on 3rds Street. Parking in the Garage is FREE. There is also street parking around the courthouse but be careful not to park in Permit Parking Only Spots.
If you have any special needs and require assistance, please call the Victim/Witness Assistance Project at 724-773-8570 or the District Attorney’s Office at 724-773-8550.