7 Things You Should Never Do During a Deposition
A deposition is a serious matter that can be held against you if you decide to fabricate, misrepresent, or conceal information, making it best to be open and honest with every question that’s asked of you.
Depositions are sworn statements that can be used in a court of law and which guide the overall discovery process. Statements you make during a deposition will shape the course of the entire case, making it vital to know what not to do during one. Find out what to avoid during your deposition so you don’t run afoul of the law.
Perhaps the worst thing that you can do during a deposition is to lie. Any statements you make will be used as evidence in court, making you liable to charges of lying under oath if you do so in your deposition. Make sure all of your statements are truthful and accurate before making them.
While in other situations it can pay to spark up a casual conversation, this isn’t appropriate for a deposition. Stick to the facts of your questioning and be respectful of others. What you perceive to be a joke or witty banter could be used against you in court in ways you can’t predict. An experienced lawyer can provide you with tips for deposition if you aren’t sure what to expect from it.
Make a Guess
Guessing or speculating about an event or subject without specifying that you are doing so during your deposition can come back to haunt you. Unless otherwise prefaced, all of your statements are understood to be truthful and accurate. If you don’t know something or wish to speculate in your deposition, indicate this before saying it.
Guessing or speculating about an event or subject without specifying that you are doing so during your deposition can come back to haunt you.
Come in Unprepared
A deposition is in many ways a test of your knowledge of the truth. This makes it vital to study all documents relevant to your deposition before you make one. Without adequate preparation, you could inadvertently say something false about a critical document and perjure yourself.
Depositions can be long (and costly), making it important to only answer what you are asked directly. There is no guarantee that the information you volunteer will be used to your advantage. Indeed, it’s likely that the other side will attempt to use anything you say against you. This makes it wise to give them information as sparingly as possible, yet to the full measure when asked.
Depositions can last for hours. This makes it vital to pace yourself during one and take breaks as needed. Your ability to clearly and concisely answer questions could begin to flag if you push yourself too hard. Taking some breaks allows you to come back and collect your thoughts so that you don’t mistakenly lie or volunteer information to the other side.
Whatever you do, don’t get upset or angry during your deposition. The other side may attempt to elicit an emotional response from you with their questions. This will get you to let your guard down and hopefully (to them) slip and give information that puts you in a bad light. Be prepared for personal or outrageous questions about the following:
- Your personal life
- Your relationship with another party in the case
- Information you hoped to keep a personal secret
Don’t lose your temper if you are asked these types of questions. That is exactly what the other side wants and when you are most vulnerable.
A deposition doesn’t have to be stressful when you make adequate preparations before going into one. In fact, a deposition can significantly help your case if you are in the right and present facts accurately and as you understand them. Your deposition is the key to much discovery that will occur before a case you’re involved in, so now is your opportunity to give those investigating it the best chance of finding information critical to it.
Author’s Bio – Michelle Eddy
Michelle Eddy is a staunch consumer advocate, fresh libertarian convert, a mother of three, and a part-time blogger. She covers topics from parenthood and child development to education and law. With a strong emphasis on consumer rights and helping the little guy stand up for their rights. Her favorite quote is “Sir, we are outnumbered 10 to 1.” “Then, it is a fair fight!”