Although the majority of sexual assault cases do not result in a trial, it’s important for any person charged with a crime to consider the cross-examination process. If your charges result in a trial, as a defendant, will you be prepared when you step into that witness box?
In a previous article series, we provided advice for defendants in the courtroom including how to dress and behave. In this article, we will advise you on how to conduct yourself during a cross-examination. If a sexually related charge is brought against you, you need the services of a sexual battery lawyer in Tampa.
Although legal questioning tends to happen before a trial date, including during depositions or even in the police precinct, we are focusing on answering questions in a courtroom. It’s important to remember that if you have been detained and the police want to ask you questions, you should speak with a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa before you speak with anyone else.
There are three rules that every defendant should remember if they are “called to the stand.” Actually, these three rules apply to any scenario in which you are required to answer legal questions. Of course, the purpose of this article isn’t to provide defendants with specific advice on what to say, but is a guideline of the way to behave.
Many defendants waver with whether or not they should look at the jury. There’s plenty of reason to feel nervous; however, you should always acknowledge the jury’s presence while being cross-examined as it makes everyone more comfortable during the process.
This rule is kind of a no-brainer as the jury, attorneys, judge, and court reporter all need to understand what you are saying. Projection and clearly enunciating each word is highly important, but it’s often overlooked when people are not used to public speaking or are extremely nervous.
It’s important to answer the questions as best you can, but it’s also important to remain on topic and to only discuss things that you are confident in talking about and have a crystal clear memory of. It’s best to answer questions briefly and directly as opposing counsel will only try to poke holes in your testimony. Never try and play mind games with the opposing counsel as well. In fact, this might be exactly what they want you to do.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.