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You may not think that what you know about the case is very significant; however, small pieces of information are often required to determine what really happened. If you wonder "why" you are testifying in a particular case, ask the Assistant Prosecutor handling it (or our Witness Coordinator); there is probably a common-sense reason.
Your presence and willingness to testify may be the deciding factor in determining what will be done in the case. Many defendants hope that you or other witnesses will not show up. Your mere presence at the courthouse before the trial may cause the defendant to plead guilty.
The stages involved in processing a criminal case are summarized on our Anatomy of a Prosecution page. In general, your first and only appearance for misdemeanor offenses will be for the actual trial. In a felony case, the first time you appear as a witness may be for the preliminary examination. On rare occasions, pre-trial motions by the defense attorney or by the prosecuting attorney may require additional hearings before the trial begins, which may require witness testimony.