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What are depositions? Can I attend the depositions in my criminal case?

A deposition is the taking of out-of-court testimony from a witness or witnesses. This is where your attorney will question witnesses involved in your criminal case under oath. In a criminal case, the defense attorney will usually question the police officers involved as well as any witness or witnesses with first-hand knowledge (usually people who allegedly saw or heard things). In Florida, depositions are automatically granted in all felony cases. However, in misdemeanor cases the defense attorney must request depositions. The judge will usually grant depositions in misdemeanors if the state is asking for jail time, if the case is complicated, or if there are expert witnesses involved.

I am the defendant can I go to my deposition?

Generally, a defendant is not allowed to be physically present for depositions in his or her criminal case. However, there are a few exceptions. A defendant can be physically present if both the defense and prosecutor agree. Also, the judge under limited circumstances can allow the defendant to be present on a showing of good cause.

What happens at deposition if I am a witness?

In Sarasota, you usually will be asked to join the defense attorney and the Assistant State Attorney (prosecutor) in a small deposition room at the State Attorney's Office. (Be sure to check your subpoena, the subpoena will contain the location where the deposition will be held.) There may be a court reporter in the room also (although it is more common for the deposition to be audio recorded). The defense attorney and prosecutor will introduce themselves and you will be placed under oath. The defense attorney will then begin questioning you. After the defense attorney is finished, the state attorney will then have an opportunity to question you.

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