Testimony-Civil or Criminal Hearings

Proper Testimony For Civil or Criminal Hearings

The law is a complex matter. No matter how compliant an individual is, there may be times when incidences happen, whether civil or criminal. A great attorney is needed whether an individual is a plaintiff or a defendant.

The old adage, “The person who acts as their own attorney has a fool for a client,” is not without merit. Attorneys do more than prepare the facts of a case. They do more than prepare their own work. They coach their clients on how to testify.

Testifying correctly, whether before a judge, a jury, or during arbitration and negotiation, is a critical component in winning either an award or being found not guilty in a criminal case.

Being on the stand is frightening for most individuals. It is something that is not common in their lives unless they are in law enforcement or other similar professions.

Many cases either fall through or receive less compensation civilly due to bad testimony on the part of the defendant or plaintiff. Other causes for lost cases also include false testimony and incorrect DNA analysis, but these generally are criminal convictions.

This is according to the studies done by the Innocence Project, which incorporated science into the study of faulty memory. In any case, civil or criminal, although it can seem to a defendant or plaintiff that an attorney is repeatedly coaching them, this is necessary.

Necessities for Proper Testimony

There is a methodology for testifying. Seasoned attorneys know this and work with clients on these methods. Here are just a few, but they are the most advised.

  • Focus on being relaxed

This of course, is easier said than done, but a nervous client who is testifying does tend to come off as guilty to either a judge or a jury. There were Harvard studies done on this.

Next to nervousness, acting angrily, even though it may be justified when falsely accused, can also make an individual seem less believable during a civil or criminal hearing.

  • Look any judge or jury in the eyes

This type of behavior always shows reliability and truthfulness, even outside a courtroom. Refusing to look at others does not impart a sense of trust or truth-telling.

The Guardian, a well-known data science publication, did studies on this. While it cannot be construed as factual in all cases, it did take into account what other individuals perceive with eye contact.

The Guardian studied “blink rates,” and blinking at a fast pace seemed to establish that others became suspicious of individuals with a high blink rate.

  • The “Silence is Golden Rule”

Any good attorney cringes as soon as a client starts embellishing a question. As an example, it is good to study the testimony of police officers by attending court hearings.

When asked, for example, the color of a vehicle, they will give a curt answer such as “red” or “blue,” etc. Nothing more. Just a one-word answer. They wait for the next questions without providing anything more specific than what is asked.

It can be difficult to do this, but it does not open doors for the opposing attorney to walk through and pin down issues that will affect a case. While not all questions can be one-word answers, the less said, the better. There is never any need to elaborate on a question.

  • Occasionally glance at your attorney

Do not stare or look for advice at this point. The body language of an attorney for either the plaintiff or defendant can tell a witness a great deal about how they are doing on the witness stand.

Although attorneys can make objections, they are limited to the rules of law and the rules of the court. If testimony is falling outside their comfort level, their body language does show this. A tense attorney will have tense body language, while a relaxed attorney will have the opposite. This does show how well the testimony is proceeding.

  • Practice testifying

Attorneys will generally practice testimony and go over behaviors many times before a hearing or trial. Always pay attention and absorb the basics they are teaching.

It may seem unnecessary, but it is part of the duty of an attorney to ensure each client knows how to present themselves the best in any case. In all cases, the more practice done on testifying, the better the outcome. Taking notes even and practicing on one’s own also helps.

Look in a mirror and judge body language, tone of voice, and overall demeanor when practicing.

  • Do not lie

This should not have to be said, but individuals panic when on the stand. Telling even one small lie makes the entire testimony suspect.

It can even lead to fines or other penalties. This is a definite “no-no”. If a lie slips out in a moment of panic, correct it immediately and apologize! Individual testimony is sworn testimony and is subject to penalties due to perjury.

Conclusion-Proper Testimony-Civil or Criminal Proceedings

Proper testimony is critical, and a great attorney will go over all the specifics before any hearing for any case. If faced with either a civil or criminal hearing as either a defendant or plaintiff, Christian J. Hoey, ESQ, represents a great portion of Southeastern PA.

Based in Paoli, PA, the team of Hoey Legal is easy to reach for a free case evaluation by a contact form or via phone: 610-647-5151. Decades of experience make Attorney Hoey the perfect choice for civil or criminal actions.

For more information on all our law services, visit us at HoeyLegal.com or call us at (610) 647-5151.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

Skip to content