What Is a Deposition and How Should I Prepare in Arizona?

Lawyer Pointing With Pen

A deposition is a common form of discovery, which is a process for gathering relevant information prior to trial. During a deposition, attorneys ask questions of the parties or witnesses. Everyone who testifies at a deposition does so under oath and can face legal consequences for perjury if they lie. 

During a deposition, either a court reporter will record the testimony or it will be videotaped. Deposition transcripts can be read and videotaped testimony shown at trial. In many cases, testimony on video can have more impact, especially if a key witness says something particularly damaging to the other side.

Oral depositions in Arizona are governed by Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 30, which states in part:

– Unless the parties agree or the court orders otherwise, a deposition is limited to 4 hours and must be completed in a single day. However, a court may lengthen the time for taking a deposition if good cause is shown. 

– Unless all parties agree or the court orders otherwise, a party who wants to depose a person by oral questions must serve written notice to every other party at least 10 days before the date of the deposition. The notice must state the date, time, and place of the deposition and, if known, the deponent’s name and address. 

– Under most circumstances, a plaintiff must obtain the court’s permission to take a deposition earlier than 30 days after serving the summons and complaint.

– If a subpoena for documents, electronically stored information or tangible things has been or will be served on the person being deposed, these materials must be listed in the deposition notice or attached to it.

In Arizona, attorneys may object to the form or foundation of a question during an oral deposition. However, a witness still must answer a question even if their attorney lodges an objection on these grounds. If an attorney objects to a question based on a privilege like attorney-client privilege, the witness does not have to answer.

Written depositions in Arizona are governed by Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 31, which states that a party who wants to depose a person by written questions must serve them on all other parties. Additional questions and objections to questions have separate time limits.

Preparing for and Giving a Deposition

To prepare for a deposition, first meet with your attorney to go over what to expect, the strategy you will use, and the proper way to conduct yourself. During this meeting, can work with you to anticipate what might be asked and come up with appropriate answers in advance. Also ask to see the important documents pertaining to the dispute, especially if they may pose a problem for your case.

Review any information you have already provided during the discovery process to make sure your deposition testimony is consistent with it. Finally, review any documents or other information already provided by the other party during discovery, as these will help you better understand the dispute and can provide clues about what will be asked.

During the deposition itself:

– Dress professionally and arrive on time.

– Make sure that you give audible and understandable answers instead of shaking your head or giving answers of “uh-huh” or “mm-hmm”.

– Wait for each question to be asked before starting to answer because people talking at the same time during a deposition will make the court reporter’s job extremely difficult and the transcript of what was said hard to follow.

– Answer questions directly and truthfully after pausing to consider your response. Remember that you will be under oath. Moreover, evasive answers will sound suspicious and probably will not keep the facts from eventually becoming known.

– Do not answer questions to which you do not know the answer; simply say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember,” and do not speculate. 

– If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification before answering. If you answer a question, the opposing attorney will assume you understood it. 

– If you misspeak or otherwise misstate the facts, admit this during the deposition and ask for the transcript to be corrected.

– Do not become angry or defensive. Instead, remain calm and listen carefully to what is being said.

– Do not answer a question if you will incriminate yourself by doing so.

Contact Counxel Legal Firm

A deposition can be stressful, especially if you have not given one before. We are here to help. If you would like to talk to an attorney about preparing for a deposition, contact us at (480) 744-6621 or at request@counxel.com. Don’t forget to check out the good things that others are saying about the services they received from Timothy Coons on Google.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation. Use of and access to this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Counxel Legal Firm. Please contact request@counxel.com or (480) 744-6621 to request specific information for your situation.

*Conveniently located off the 101 Freeway and the US 60 in the middle of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek!

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