How to Testify in Court


Every day, dozens of Newport News residents successfully testify in Court. If you’ve never had to do it before, it can seem scary or unexpected the first time you receive a subpoena. But most witnesses find the process is not as difficult as they imagined it would be.  The most important part of testifying is very simple:  just tell the truth.  


Here are some other things to know about testifying:


  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say so.
  • If you hear one of the lawyers say “Objection” just stop talking. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. The lawyers will discuss the objection with the judge and then you’ll be directed on how to continue.
  • If you don’t understand a question, say so. Don’t be afraid to ask that a question be repeated if you didn’t hear the question clearly. Speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard and understood. Do not nod or shake your head, you need to give a verbal response to every question.
  • If you have a disability that requires an accommodation for court, our office will be happy to assist you. Please contact our victim services unit.
  • There is no smoking, eating, drinking or chewing gum permitted in court buildings.
  • You may not bring cell phones, smart watches, other electronic devices, or anything that resembles a weapon into the court buildings. You will be screened upon entry.
  • It is important to be on time. Remember that parking and going through security will take some time too. So plan to arrive early.
  • Dress neatly. For men, all shirts must be tucked in. Shorts, halter tops, or revealing clothing are not permitted in the courts.


If you have questions about testifying or about the case you’ve been subpoenaed for, please contact a victim advocate.

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney
Phone: 757-926-7443
2501 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

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The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes criminal cases that occur within the City of Newport News, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is Mr. Howard E. Gwynn.