Clare County Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Ambrozaitis

Tel: (989)539-9831

Victim & Witness

Victim FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

You may bring friends or relatives with you to court, and they can probably sit in thecourtroom while you testify, unless they are also witnesses.
(Witnesses testify one at a time and generally wait outside the courtroom for their turn.This is called “sequestration”).
Our Victim Advocate may also be with you, if you request
Yes, the defendant has the right to see and hear what the witnesses against him/her have to say.
The lawyer for the defendant is called the defense attorney and will ask you questions after the Prosecuting Attorney does.
In representing a client, a defense attorney may contact you and want to talk to you about the case.
Keep in mind that you do not have to talk to anyone about the crime, including the defense attorney or their investigator prior to testifying in court.
If you choose to do so, always request proper identification a nd an explanation of the purpose of the interview.
Afterward, please inform the Prosecutor handling the case.
If you have concerns about talking with a defense attorney or their investigator, you are encouraged to contact the Prosecutor in charge of your case and to have him/her with you at the time of the interview.

Concerns about your well-being and safety after being victimized or witnessing a crime are normal.

If you have any fears or receive any threats concerning your involvement in a case, you should immediately contract the law enforcement agency that investigated the case, or the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

In a emergency situation, call 911.

Do so as soon as possible so that the threats can be documented and appropriate action taken.

There are laws to protect you against people who attempt to bribe, intimidate, threaten, or harass you.

Witness FAQs

Witnesses are not limited to “eye witness.” You may not have seen or heard the crime happen, but you may still know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence, something about someone involved in the case, or something that contradicts another person’s testimony. 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 Prosecutor handling it (or one of the Prosecutor’s staff); there is probably a common-sense reason.
Foreign language interpreters and interpreters for the hearing and/or speech impaired are available. If you are in need of interpreting services while in attendance at court, contact the Prosecuting Attorney Office as soon as possible.
Concerns about your well-being and safety after being victimized or witnessing a crime are normal. If you have any fears or receive any threats concerning your involvement in a case, you should immediately contact the law enforcement agency that investigated the case, or the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. In an emergency situation, call 911. Do so as soon as possible so that the threats can be documented and appropriate action taken. There are laws to protect you against people who attempt to bribe, intimidate, threaten, or harass you.
In representing a client, a defense attorney may contact you and want to talk to you about the case. Keep in mind that you do not have to talk to anyone about the crime, including the defense attorney or their investigator prior to testifying in court. If you choose to do so, always request proper identification and an explanation of the purpose of the interview. Also be aware that your conversation with this individual may be recorded for later use in court, without your knowledge. If you have any concerns about talking with a defense attorney or their investigator, you are encouraged to contact the Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney in charge of your case and to have him/her with you at the time of the interview.
The defendant must be present in court to hear what all the witnesses say about him. The lawyer for the defendant is called the defense attorney and will ask you questions after the Prosecutor or Assistant Prosecuting Attorney does.
You may bring friends or relatives with you to court, and they can probably sit in the courtroom while you testify, unless they are also witnesses. (Witnesses testify one at a time and generally wait outside the courtroom for their turn. This is called sequestration.) Our Victim Advocate may also be with you, if you request.
Your court room time, while actually testifying, may not take long; it depends upon many factors. Most of your time spent at the courthouse will just be waiting for your turn to testify. You and your family and friends are encouraged to bring a book or magazine to read while you wait.
Whether a witness receives any witness fee is within the discretion of the court. A court can order that you receive witness fees ($12.50 per morning or a
fternoon court session that you are ordered to attend, or $25.00 for a full day), plus mileage ($0.24 per mile, round trip).What if I can’t attend on the date stated in the subpoena? If you have a date conflict, you should contact our office (989-539-9831) immediately to discuss your conflict. In some cases, the Prosecuting Attorney handling the case can put you “on call” (so that you can go to work or school on the day you are subpoenaed, and you will be called at a pre-arranged phone number an hour or so before you are needed in court).
Witnesses receive witness fees and mileage only when they appear in court at the scheduled time. You will not receive a witness fee or mileage if your case (or your individual appearance) was “called off” or if you do not appear.
If you have a date conflict, you should contact our office (989-539-9831) immediately to discuss your conflict. In some cases, the Prosecuting Attorney handling the case can put you “on call” (so that you can go to work or school on the day you are subpoenaed, and you will be called at a pre-arranged phone number an hour or so before you are needed in court). Witnesses receive witness fees and mileage only when they appear in court at the scheduled time. You will not receive a witness fee or mileage if your case (or your individual appearance) was “called off” or if you do not appear.
No one can tell in advance how many times or how long you will have to be in court. The process of justice takes time. The number of times you may be called to appear in court and the delays you may encounter are the result of many factors, including pre-trial motions or other scheduled events with your case, or congestion on the judge’s court calendar. The stages involved in processing a criminal case are summarized on our website. 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.
If you are lawfully subpoenaed to court, an employer cannot prevent court attendance. When appropriate, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will contact your employer to discuss the importance of your role as a witness. We can also provide you with a note, on our letterhead, confirming the days/hours when you were in court.

All witness fee payments are made by check from the County.

Call our office the afternoon before the case is scheduled to be heard or check our
website for case status updates.
Our Witness Assistance program helps the witnesses that the Prosecutor’s office subpoenas to court, not witnesses whom the defendant subpoenas.
WITNESS FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) To print these Frequently Asked Questions, download them here.