What is a Deposition?
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Understanding How Depositions Work in California
Whenever there’s a lawsuit filed with the courts, all parties have the right to do what is called “discovery.” This process involves the full disclosure of all details pertaining to a case before it goes to trial. There are different methods through which discovery can be performed. For instance, one of the methods employed in discovery is document production. Document production should be done in advance of a trial so both parties know the documentation that may be subject to evidence during a trial. However, there is another method which is commonly used in most cases. We are talking about depositions. Depositions are sworn statements given by one of the parties involved. An attorney makes questions related to a case.
Depositions are meant to search for the truth by compiling a person’s statement and locking him or her to it. That is, pose a question that will be memorialized in a sworn statement, so there are no surprises down the road. Additionally, conducting a deposition can give attorneys a better understanding of who the witness is and how they will react and behave during the trial. Despite what many may think – and what you may have seen on TV – depositions are not meant to be glamorous or charming. Instead, they are serious procedures hitting witnesses with hard questions to understand the facts in a case.
Do I Have to Go to Court for a Deposition?
Many people may be confused about how depositions work. In fact, many people feel apprehensive about offering a deposition because they fear to appear to court. The good news is, as a witness, you don’t have to go to court for a deposition. Generally, depositions are performed in an office in the presence of the lawyers involved in the case. The statements you provide can be recorded with a voice recorder, or it can be videotaped (in exceptional circumstances). A reporter of the court, attending the deposition, will transcribe everything happening during deposition and produce official copies that will be used during the trial.
You don’t have to be worried about the deposition process being too strict. Generally, the questions made during this process are broad in spectrum and are meant to understand the case at hand better. Usually, there are no objections or rulings pertaining to a deposition since there are no judges present. However, there may be special circumstances where a judge may intervene and rule on a specific line of questions.
Things to Remember in a Deposition
There are several things that you need to remember when being deposed by an attorney. While depositions are very common in most cases, the process should be taken seriously. For instance, attorneys tend to be rigorous during depositions, and they will ask you many questions regarding the specific circumstances surrounding your case. This is not a good time to start guessing what “you think” happened. As a witness to a case, you are expected to answer all questions clearly and accurately to prevent problems down the road. It is extremely important to be clear and concise on every answer given. Be as honest with your lawyer as you can. Remember you are giving a statement under oath, and lying under oath can have harsh civil and criminal consequences.
Remember these processes can be lengthy or short, depending on the nature and complexity of your case. You need to be prepared and ready for whatever time the process may take.
What Are the Legal Consequences of Lying Under Oath in California?
Lying under oath is also known as perjury. A person commits perjury when he or she deliberately and knowingly gives a false statement affecting a material fact on a case. You can commit perjury by providing incorrect information on any documents filed to the court, giving a false statement before and during the trial, and lying to a government official. If you are caught lying under oath, you can face serious criminal consequences. If you are found guilty of perjury in California, you may face up to four years in jail. You should make sure to have a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced attorney by your side during deposition. Our California criminal defense attorneys can help. You throughout the entire process.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Offering Free Consultations in California
Facing criminal charges for perjury can lead to severe consequences that can alter the course of your life. There may be situations in which you may have made a mistake that can be interpreted as perjury. Our professional, dedicated, and skilled criminal defense attorneys can help defend you against perjury allegations. At The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC, we can help. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation with our California criminal defense lawyers, call our offices today at (805) 585-5056.