During a trial

General information

Some of the basic steps that you may take for your trial include: making an opening statement, submitting evidence, calling witnesses and asking them questions, cross examining witnesses called by the other side, making objections, and making a closing argument. Since every trial is different, you may need additional steps.

This information focuses on Superior Court bench trials (where the judge, not a jury, decides your case). You should also consult with the judicial assistant for your assigned judge to find out about any specific requirements of that judge.

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Opening statements

An opening statement is a preview about the case and tells the court what you intend to prove.

Offering exhibits

Exhibits are the documents, emails, texts, photographs, or other material that you want to have the court consider as evidence. Before you can use an exhibit, you need to "offer it" to prove its authenticity so that it can be admitted into the court record.

The State Court ER Rules of Evidence apply to all evidence used in court.


At trial, each side can testify on their own behalf, or introduce (call) witnesses to testify about information the witness has seen, heard, or knows. Each side can also cross-examine the witnesses that the other person has called.

For tips on how to call a witness to give testimony, how to question the witness after they have been called (direct examination), how to give testimony yourself, and how to question the other side's witnesses (cross-examination):

The State Court ER Rules of Evidence apply to all evidence used in court.


An objection is how you tell the judge you believe that the other person’s evidence, testimony, or question shouldn’t be allowed. You can object to the entry of any type of evidence, as long as your objection is based on the State Court ER Rules of Evidence. The judge will then rule on your objection and either block the evidence or allow it to be admitted.

For tips on how to offer objections at trial:

Closing arguments

A closing argument is your chance to explain why you should win the case as well as point out the weaknesses of the other side's case.