The press and television dramas often give a lot of attention to the deposition of key witnesses in high-profile cases – but what is a deposition exactly?
Here, we’ll break it all down for you and demystify the process by addressing some frequently asked questions.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is your testimony under oath. You will be asked questions by the opposing attorney, and its proceedings and all of the questions and answers will be recorded by an official court reporter. The judge will not be present.
Where does a deposition take place?
The deposition can be taken in one of the attorneys’ offices, the court reporter’s office or any other agreed-upon location.
Why do I have to do a deposition?
Once you’re involved in a lawsuit, the other side has a right to find out what you know so they can prepare for trial. They are entitled to these facts, recollections and impressions through the use of things like interrogatories (written questions), requests for production (formal requests that you send them documents) and depositions (oral questions and answers).
What is the goal of a deposition?
A deposition has two main purposes: To find out what each witness knows and to preserve their testimony, and to allow the parties to learn all the facts before the trial, to know who all of the witnesses will be, and what they’ll say during their testimony. More specifically, the opposing side is taking your deposition for four main reasons:
- They want to find out what facts you have from your knowledge and in your possession regarding the issues in the case.
- Through a deposition, they will know in advance what your story is going to be since you will have to tell the same story at the final hearing.
- They hope to catch you in a lie so at the final hearing, they can show that you are not a truthful person and therefore, your testimony should not be believed.
- The opposing lawyer wants to evaluate you as a witness by gauging how you react to stress in the hopes of drawing out negative qualities when they question you in front of the judge later.
What kinds of questions will they ask?
The questions that will be asked in a deposition depend heavily on the factual issues involved in the case, and the type of information you’re believed to have. First, you will be asked general background questions such as your name, address, date of birth, who is in your family, education, work history, and more. You will then be asked to recall very specific details relating to the case.
What else happens in the deposition?
The first thing that happens is the court reporter swears you in. Then the other attorney will usually ask you to follow his or her rules. Then the questions and answers begin. Once the deposition starts, you cannot talk to your attorney about your testimony; your attorney is only there to protect you from improper questions.
Ultimately, if you are honest, earnest, fair, and treat all parties with respect, you will be successful in your deposition.
But should you have any further questions or concerns regarding your deposition, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Tampa attorneys at Anton Castro Law who are dedicated to ‘Representing Your Best Interests.’