Tips and guidelines for testifying in depositions
Important Tips and Guidelines for Testifying in a Deposition in Oklahoma
So let’s talk about testifying in a deposition and what you should or shouldn’t do. My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney here with Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable. And I’m going to talk to you guys today about how to conduct yourself if you end up being the subject of a deposition in court.
This is not the most common thing that occurs in a family court setting, but it can. It tends to happen more often if you’re talking about a really complicated custody case or one where there’s real serious allegations.
Full Disclosure and the Broad Scope of Deposition
First thing is you really want to talk carefully with your lawyer and you have full disclosure is a must. Nothing you tell your lawyer, you know, you can’t tell them anything that they can turn around and use against you because their lips are sealed under privilege. So generally speaking, it’s a good idea to do full disclosure and that includes even things you would prefer not to talk about. Even if it’s embarrassing, guess what? Get over it because we need to know.
And one thing to be aware of with deposition is the scope of it is extremely broad. Even things that wouldn’t necessarily be relevant in court could potentially lead to relevant evidence and therefore could be asked about. Moreover, you could take something that’s really not relevant and make it relevant by lying about it. So that’s where it’s important to talk to your lawyer and the rule is full disclosure.
The Importance of Honesty and Preparation
Another really important thing is don’t lie. And if you’re not sure about the answer, don’t guess because that could be made to look like a lie. Even if it’s something you really aren’t comfortable talking about, you should not lie about it. There are situations where you might want to do what’s called pleading the fifth. In other words, you assert your fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination if, for example, you were asked about something that could potentially implicate you in a crime. But you definitely don’t want to lie about it.
If you know what the truth is and you tell a lie and you get caught, and trust me when I say that happens a lot, you’re not as slick as you think you are and a lot of times stuff you might lie about that can be verified. So it’s extremely important you not lie. If you need to assert the fifth, you have that right, but you should never lie.
Another thing is you want to, ideally you want to practice what you’re going to talk about and how you’re going to talk about it. And I’m not saying fabricate a story. What I’m talking about is get comfortable talking about whatever it is you’re going to talk about and get comfortable in the sense that you’re fairly clear on dates and times, you’re fairly clear on who was in the room, who was not in the room, what was said, what wasn’t said. Because the more of a clear statement you can give, the better it is for you. If you’re ordered to bring documents, make sure you have them. If you are ordered to bring anything else, make sure you have it.
Additional Tips for Deposition
Also try to eliminate distractions. If you weren’t specifically ordered to have your cell phone on you, for example, then leave it in the car or leave it at home. It’s just a distraction. It could potentially disrupt at an important time. Follow your normal routine for that day with some exceptions. If your normal routine is you get up, you have a cup of coffee, have a cup of coffee. If your normal routine is you have a cigarette before you start your day, go have a cigarette. The day of deposition is not a good time to quit your caffeine habit or quit your smoking habit.
Now, exceptions. Obviously if your habit is you get up in the morning and you do a wake and bake, in other words you smoke weed in the morning or you take an edible, I would suggest you do not want to do that going into a deposition. Because if it comes out in deposition that you’re impaired, that could be a problem for you. And the same goes for alcohol. Anything else that could be considered an intoxicant that could impair your ability to meaningfully participate. But with that exception, you should follow your normal daily routine.
Do not volunteer information in deposition. If it’s asked for and it’s responsive to a question, then you need to talk about it. But if you don’t want to start adding random stuff onto the back end of whatever your answer is, try to explain. I see this a lot in court and I’ve seen it in deposition, it is a really bad idea. Also don’t exaggerate. If you’re asked how many sexual partners you have, don’t say 20 if you really only had 5. And the reverse is obviously true too. If you had 20, don’t say 5. For the purposes of deposition, you need to get over your embarrassment, get over your ego, you answer questions truthfully, 100%. You don’t exaggerate, you don’t lie, you don’t omit facts, 100%. But you also don’t volunteer information.
Keeping Your Composure and Seeking Legal Help
Deposition is like court in the sense that you should treat it like a business transaction. So it’s important you keep your head on straight and control your emotions. Some attorneys will try to push your buttons when you’re a hostile witness and they will try to get you upset and get you flustered, get you frustrated. I use this tactic sometimes. You should be prepared for it and understand it is a tactic, they will try to push your buttons, don’t fall for that.
And sometimes you run into the opposite where they’ll try to be your friend to get you talking. Again, it is a business transaction. It’s just like buying a car and you conduct yourself accordingly. They’re not your friend, they’re not your buddy, they’re not there to shoot the shit with. It’s a business transaction, take it seriously.
And guys, if you are facing deposition, the last tip I’m going to give you is you really do need a good attorney. And in that case, if you need to find a good attorney, one place you can find one is at Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable. Thanks guys.
Ready to Protect Your Rights? Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you’re facing a deposition or need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Visit our website at Dads.Law to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights as a father.