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, 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 you should call the LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office at (815) 434-8340 on the business day before the day of trial. Please have your notice of trial handy when you call the above numbers, as the following information may be needed:
- DEFENDANTS NAME
- CASE NUMBER
- DATE OF TRIAL
- COURTROOM NUMBER
- A TELEPHONE NUMBER WHERE YOU CAN BE REACHED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 11:00AM AND 1:00PM ON THE DAY OF TRIAL
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) 434-8340. If you are not called between 11:00AM and 1:00PM on the date of trial, you may call the office at (815) 434-8340 on the next business day to request a status report.
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? 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? Your court room time, while actually testifying, may not take long; it depends upon many factors. Unfortunately, most of the time you will just be 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.
Can I collect any witness fees if I testify? Whether a witness receives any witness fee is within the discretion of the court. A court can order that you receive witness fees and reimbursement for transportation mileage. Witnesses may receive witness fees and mileage reimbursement only when they appear in court at the scheduled time. If you have any questions concerning witness fees, please contact the Victim Witness Coordinator at (815) 434-8340 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.