Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :


You may have concerns about the complexity of legal language if you are involved in a divorce or a trial, and may ask yourself, "what is a deposition?" A deposition may be conducted before to a criminal or civil trial. A deposition is conducted as part of the discovery procedure to learn more about the case. 

In essence, the deposition is a recorded statement delivered under oath in response to oral examination. There are two primary functions of a deposition. The first is to determine precisely what a witness or case participant understands, and the second is to preserve that testimony. The objective is to ensure that all parties are informed of all relevant information prior to trial, so there are no surprises when the witness takes the stand.

The deposition improves everyone's understanding of the case, hence, why depositions are done before trials. For instance, if it is discovered during a deposition that a witness's version of events might be unfavorable to one party or the other, there is time to prepare a rebuttal for trial.

 A deposition also saves testimony, so that if a witness changes their story at trial, the deposition can be used to discredit them. All parties interested in the matter may attend the deposition, and while both sides' attorneys are present, they play a significantly less role than in court. The duration of depositions can range from an hour to weeks.

Difference Between Civil and Criminal Depositions

Civil and criminal depositions are all very distinct from one another. A deposition can be taken in a civil or family law matter to find pertinent facts; but, in a criminal prosecution, a deposition cannot typically be taken against the defendant. It would most likely be utilized to investigate witness testimony or prospective police officer testimony.

For a court to accept a criminal deposition of the defendant, exceptional circumstances must be present, and the interests of justice must be served. Civil depositions—out-of-court oral testimony recorded in writing for the purpose of gathering evidence and later utilized in court—are far more prevalent than criminal depositions. Civil depositions are utilized in legal matters such as vehicle accident claims, malpractice claims, and divorce processes.

Where do Depositions Take Place?

Generally, depositions are held at the office of the opposing attorney who is deposing you, but they can alternatively be taken in a neutral office space supplied by another attorney. The majority of criminal depositions take place in the prosecutor’s office. A court reporter records the deposition and eventually gives a detailed transcript of the deposition. Occasionally, a deposition may be filmed. 

Depositions may be anxiety-inducing and unpleasant and are often not enjoyable. Being wellprepared for your Florida deposition might significantly reduce your anxiety. If you have all the necessary information and understand the steps required in a Florida deposition, the process will likely be straightforward and uncomplicated. At the commencement of your deposition, you will be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Are you aware that you are under oath? 
  • Do you understand that the court reporter is recording your responses? 
  • Do you realize that you must answer each question aloud (nods cannot be recorded) and that you should use "yes" or "no" instead of the slang "yeah" or "nope"?

You should also be informed that once the transcript is completed, you will have the option to make adjustments; however, if you alter a "yes" response to a "no" one, opposing counsel may remark on the change at trial.

Despite the fact that no one is expected to recall every single detail, accuracy is crucial throughout your deposition. Additionally, it is crucial throughout the trial. If your testimony differs from your deposition while on the stand, the opposing counsel will likely utilize this to undermine your credibility or sow doubt in the minds of the jurors.

Can My Attorney Object to a Question During my Deposition?

Despite the possibility of challenges by the attorneys, the individual being questioned must generally answer truthfully. False statements made under oath are punishable by both civil and criminal sanctions. Nevertheless, your attorney may file a form objection. 

Typically, a form objection challenges the way in which the question is stated, not the issue itself. Ambiguous questions, questions that inquire about many topics at once, leading questions, argumentative questions, speculative questions, and inquiries that presuppose unproven facts can all result in a form objection.

In some instances, a form objection enables your attorney to advise you, without your knowledge, to answer the question with extreme caution.

There are uncommon instances where an attorney may be justified in ending a deposition. Florida law says that “At any time during the taking of the deposition…upon a showing the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such a manner as to unreasonably annoy, embarrass or oppress the deponent or party…the court may limit the scope and manner of the deposition.”[1] In addition, if an attorney feels that the information requested from the witness will cause irreparable harm if disclosed, he or she may suspend the deposition and submit a motion for protective order[2].

What Questions Can I Expect to Be Asked About?

The questions you will be asked will depend on the details and type of case. You will first be questioned about your personal and educational background. 

After providing your name and address, and maybe your date of birth, you may be asked questions about your educational experience, such as when you graduated from high school, whether or not you attended college, and whether or not you hold a degree.

You may be asked where you currently reside, how long you've lived there, if you own or rent your residence, and with whom you reside. You may be questioned if you have been previously married and where and for how long you lived prior to your current domicile.

You may be asked a variety of work-related questions, pertaining to both your present and former employment. You may even be questioned why you left a particular job. 

If your case includes a car accident or a workplace accident, you will be requested to provide a thorough description of the accident and your injuries. You may be questioned if you visited an emergency room or other medical institution, how long you missed work due to the accident, and about your current medical treatment plan.

You may be asked to score your pain on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the worst) or to explain it in words. You may be asked to describe the impact of your injuries on your daily life. Typically, your deposition questions will be asked in chronological sequence, i.e., from the time of your injury to the present. Additionally, you may be requested to identify, explain, or validate documents.

How to Prepare for your Florida Deposition

If you have not previously done so, the first step you should take prior to your deposition is to schedule a meeting with your attorney. This meeting provides you with the opportunity to ask questions about your deposition and to gain an understanding of the sorts of questions you may be asked. If you have answered written questions relevant to your case, referred to as interrogatories, you should study them with your attorney and familiarize yourself with the responses you supplied. 

Credibility is crucial in depositions. Count on being held accountable during your trial if you fail to speak the truth or make conflicting statements. You do not want opposing counsel to remind you that you stated something different during your deposition and question whether you are lying. Apart from ensuring that your responses are accurate and consistent, it would be best if you also considered the following ideas to improve the flow of your deposition:

  • Get a good night’s rest the night before your deposition. It is important to be alert and wellrested.
  • Expect difficult questions
  • Maintain your answers as short and straightforward as possible
  • Only answer what they specifically asked you. Refrain from giving additional details that weren’t asked of you.
  • Be honest. If you do not understand the question, ask for a reiteration.

Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki

Please call us at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a quick and convenient form to schedule a free initial consultation with our aggressive personal injury and criminal attorneys! We conduct consultations in Spanish too!  At Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki, our team of lawyers will be at your side, guiding you throughout the process. Give us a call today!

[1] FLA. R. CIV. P. 1.310(d)

[2] FLA. R. CIV. P. 1.280(c)

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