In regard to starting your case on the best foot possible, preparation is extremely important. It is common to feel a sense of anxiety or dread at the prospect of appearing in court before a judge to face your accusations.
You want your initial appearance in criminal court to go well in order to earn the judge’s favor, which can be beneficial for your case. Alas, some people do not know what to expect or how to prepare properly for their day in court.
The following are several tips to remember in order to better prepare for your first day in court:
- Do not be late. Being late is not the best way to start your case. Not only are you wasting your lawyer’s time, the prosecution’s time, and the judge’s time, but it can set back the entire court schedule. Furthermore, it is a negative reflection of your character. It is imperative to plan ahead for any foreseeable traffic you may encounter. Plan on arriving 15-30 minutes before your scheduled arrival time, giving you enough time to get through security and prepare for your case.
- Dress appropriately. Since a courtroom is a serious venue that commands insurmountable respect, you can demonstrate your respect by the way you dress. Common guidelines include dressing for a wedding or a religious service. For men, wear a button-down shirt and tie, along with slacks and dress shoes. If you have a business suit, we suggest you wear it. For women, do not wear anything revealing and keep your skirts at least knee-length.
- Always be polite. Whether it is a security guard or the judge, be polite to everyone. Any form of mistreatment by any of the courtroom staff can be heard by the judge. In addition, turn off your cellphone while in court.
- Do not speak out of turn. In addition to being polite, speaking while in the courtroom is something you should consider very carefully before doing. When an attorney represents you, you will likely not have to say a whole lot. So just listen quietly and pay attention. If the prosecution attempts to attack your character or say something uncalled for, it is best not to speak out of turn.