What responsibilities do I have as a witness?
Being called to testify as a witness in a criminal case is a very big responsibility. A witness who testifies in a criminal case plays an important role within the criminal justice system by assisting authorities in holding offenders accountable for the crimes they perpetrate against innocent victims. The police, assistant state’s attorneys and judges could not make informed decisions without the cooperation of witnesses.
I just received a notice of trial/subpoena, what should I do?
As a witness, your testimony may be required to successfully prosecute a criminal case. To determine whether your testimony will be needed, please contact the State’s Attorney's Office one week prior to the trial date. Please have your notice of trial handy when you call. If you are unavailable to testify on the date of trial, please call the State’s Attorney’s Office as soon as possible at (815)334-4159.
Will the defendant be present when I testify?
The defendant has the right to be present in court to hear all testimony. The defendant’s attorney(s) may ask you questions after the assistant state’s attorney does.
Who will be with me when I testify?
Your Victim/Witness Coordinator will be with you when you testify. If you feel you may require additional support you may bring friends or relatives with you to court, and they may be able to sit in the courtroom while you testify, unless they are also witnesses. Witnesses testify one at a time and generally wait outside the courtroom for their turn.
How long will I be in court?
Testifying in court may not take long, but it depends upon many factors. Unfortunately, most of your time will be spent waiting for your turn to testify. You and your family or friends are encouraged to bring a book or magazine to read while you wait.
- Victim/Witness Program
- Handbook for Victims/Witnesses of Violent Crimes
- Victim Rights
- Witness Assistance
- Crime Victim Compensation Act
- Victim/Witness Contact Information Form
- Links for Victims/Witnesses