(1) Basic procedure

Stand up
Tell the judge that you object
State the exact grounds, citing the legal rule
Give a one-sentence explanation
Allow your opponent to speak without interruption
Remain standing until the judge rules on the objection
Accept the judge's ruling gracefully.

(2) Tactics of making objections

a. Reasons to object

You are certain you will be sustained.
The evidence hurts your case.
You need to protect your witness from misleading questions asked during cross-examination.
You wish to disrupt your opponent.
You need to preserve a pretrial motion or previous objection.
You want an excuse to make a short speech to the jury.

b. Reasons Not to Object

It would emphasize harmful evidence by calling special attention to it.
The evidence will eventually be admitted anyway.
Too many picayune or technical objections may cause an unfavorable reaction among jurors.
The evidence may open the door to otherwise inadmissible favorable evidence.
Alternative means of combating the objectionable evidence exist, such as offering conclusive counter-evidence.
The objection is petty.

(3) When to move to strike

When a witness gives an unresponsive answer to one of your questions.
When a witness volunteers inadmissible evidence in response to a proper question asked by your opponent. If the question itself clearly called for inadmissible evidence, you must have objected to the question. You cannot resort to a motion to strike unless the improper testimony could not have been anticipated from the question.
When a witness makes gratuitous or vindictive remarks.
When subsequent testimony demonstrates that previous evidence was incompetent, or if your Opponent fails to connect up testimony conditionally admitted.
When the opposing attorney makes gratuitous or improper remarks during witness examination or argument.

1) Basic procedure

Stand up and face the judge. Don't give in to the temptation to face the opposing attorney who is making the objection.
State your responses succinctly, being as specific as possible about the legal grounds for admissibility.
Give a one-sentence non-legal explanation for the benefit of the jury.
Remain standing until the judge rules on the objection
Accept the judge's ruling gracefully.
Make an offer of proof if you lose the objection.

(2) Tactics of responding to objections.

a. Reasons to withdraw or rephrase a question

You agree that the objection is valid. Don't make silly arguments.
The objection merely goes to the form of the question, and you can easily rephrase it.

b. Reasons to keep silent and let the judge rule

You are uncertain about the validity of an objection, but cannot think of a good argument.
You have already withdrawn several questions. If you continually ask questions and withdraw them if your opponent objects, it begins to look like bad faith.
You don't want to interrupt the flow of your examination. Every argument takes time and distracts the jury from the witness's testimony.
The judge is already taking your side. If the judge is already questioning the vailidity of the objection, it is probably best to keep quiet.
The judge does not appear to want to hear from you.
The objection is to testimony from a witness rather than to your question. You can withdraw a question, but you cannot withdraw a witness's testimony.

c. Reasons to respond to the objection with an argument for admissibility.

You believe the evidence is admissible.
The evidence is important to your case.
The judge expects it. Obviously, if the judge asks you for a response, or looks at you expectantly, you should reply.

(3) Offers of proof. If your evidence is excluded, you must make an offer of proof that places the substance of the excluded evidence into the record. Offers are unnecessary on cross-examination if you asked a leading question. Offers of proof take three forms:

The jury is removed from the courtroom, and the witness is questioned exactly as if the jury were present. Save this for critical evidence and expert witnesses.
The attorney submits a written or oral summary of the excluded evidence out of the hearing of the jury.
The side bar conference, in which the attorney answers the judge's question, "Where are you going with this line of questioning?"
Remember that an offer of proof is factual. It is an opportunity to inform the judge what the evidence would be. It is not a legal argument explaining why you think the evidence is admissible.


Don't. You had your chance to explain your objection. If you blew it, shut up and take your lumps.