Legal Dictionary

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Direct Examination

Direct examination is the initial questioning of a witness in a trial or other proceeding by the party that called the witness to testify. Following a direct examination, the opposing party has an opportunity to cross examine the witness. For example, if during the prosecution's direct examination, the witness testifies that she saw the defendant leave the crime scene, the defense attorney will cross examine the witness and try to get her to admit that something precluded her from truly being able to identify the defendant (e.g. that she was not wearing her glasses on the night in question.) Direct examination is often referred to simply as “Direct.