Before Testifying Do This Thing FIRST

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Before you testify in an administrative hearing in court or when giving a statement in an investigation, it is crucial that you review any and all materials that you have access to related to the incident. Why is that such a big deal? If I’m inconsistent, I can just say, I didn’t remember the details. Right? Wrong!

I’m Muna Busailah, managing partner in the police defense law firm of Stone Busailah, and for more than the past two decades, I have represented officers like you in instances where their testimony and reports were in conflict, and they became ensnared in an investigation, or were even prosecuted.

What are inconsistent statements?

Let me explain. Inconsistent statements mean when the narrative of your report and your verbal account of the incident don’t match. They will become the focal point of the opposing counsel’s efforts to impeach you.

In a criminal matter

If you’re in a criminal matter, your impeachment could result in the dismissal of the criminal charges against the defendant. If egregious enough, the court could charge you with the crime of perjury.

In an administrative matter

If you’re in an administrative matter, the inconsistent statements could result in a charge of misleading or dishonest statements against you, and could cost you your job.

In a civil matter

And if you’re in a civil matter and you’re testifying inconsistently with your report, you could end up with a damage award against you.

What you must do

Reviewing your report before you testify gives you the opportunity to refresh your recollection, and not just rely on your memory of the incident. If necessary, refer to the report while you are testifying, so it’s clear that what you wrote down soon after the incident was your best recollection at the time.

Don’t get caught in a misconduct investigation or get charged as a result of inconsistent statements. Be prepared and always seek the assistance of competent counsel. For further tips and things to remember if you’re under investigation, please see our free guide. Stay safe.   


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