How to Prepare for Deposition Testimony

Criminal defense lawyer

If you’ve been scheduled to complete a deposition, that means that you are likely giving testimony in a civil case. It may be your own case, with you as a party to the litigation, or you may simply be a witness in someone else’s case. Either way, there are a few things that you can do to prepare yourself to testify.

  1.     No matter what, always tell the truth.

When you testify at a deposition, although there won’t be a judge in the room, you are still required to take an oath to tell the truth. Lying in a deposition can subject you to criminal perjury charges, just like lying in court. Additionally, it’s just a bad idea to lie. You’re almost certain to get caught, and if you lie, the lawyers are going to take every opportunity to make you regret it. Listen carefully to each question, and no matter how bad the truth sounds, you’ll need to tell it. (Unless the truth implicates you in a crime – see #2.)

  1.     If you’re concerned that you might be asked to testify about a crime that YOU committed, consult with a lawyer who can help you assert your fifth amendment rights.

The only exception to telling the truth in a deposition is in a situation where you’re asked to testify about acts that you committed that are criminal in nature. Now, I’m not advocating that you lie about those things, but rather, I am advocating that you exercise your fifth amendment right to remain silent. If this is the situation in which you find yourself, you should hire a lawyer. That lawyer should accompany you to the deposition, and when you are asked questions about any crimes that you committed, your lawyer will instruct you not to answer the question and to rather assert your right to remain silent under the fifth amendment.

  1.     Review the records.

If the subject matter of the deposition is something about which you have previously created records or prepared notes or a report, you should review those items prior to going into the deposition. It may help to jog your memory about something that you forgot, and will help you be prepared to answer the questions to the best of your ability. The lawyer may ask you what you did to prepare for the deposition, and you should simply be truthful and say that you reviewed the reports relating to the subject matter of your testimony. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or to hide from the lawyer – it’s completely expected that you would review relevant documents ahead of time.

  1.     Bring records with you if asked by the lawyer who called you there.

Many times, deposition subpoenas call for you to bring records with you to the deposition. If that’s the case, bring those records with you to the deposition as requested, and to save yourself and everyone else time, it may be wise to bring multiple copies. That way, you won’t have to take a break from the deposition to have the lawyer make copies for everyone.

If you have a deposition scheduled and are not represented by a lawyer, it would be wise to contact a lawyer for a consultation to discuss whether or not you should be represented at the deposition. Contact an experienced criminal law lawyer Grand Rapids, MI offers today.


Thanks to Blanchard Law for their insight into criminal defense and how to prepare for deposition.