Appearing in a courtroom as a defendant is never going to be a fun experience. You stand in front of a judge, prosecutors, court officers and sometimes an entire galley of strangers as the charges against you are read. The judge, who may have already seen dozens of cases just like yours previously, can seem cold and harsh. The prosecuting attorney may come across rude and presumptuous, talking about you like you are a complete waste of time. Besides your defense attorney, it might feel like you have no other friend in the world.
Even though you may be feeling awkward and nervous, especially if it’s your first time in court, there are some specific things you should remember to help you in court.
1. Be Courteous and Polite
It’s important to display your best possible attitude when appearing in court. This isn’t always easy. You may feel that you don’t deserve to be there in the first place or that you should be treated in a different matter. At this point, the best thing you can do is to try and be polite with everyone. Address the judge clearly. Be courteous to any court officers you interact with. You don’t have to love being there, but you don’t want to make the case against you worse by displaying a bad attitude.
2. Look as Good as You Can
Sometimes, defendants find themselves appearing before a judge first thing in the morning after a night spent in jail. Try to clean up the best you can. Fix your hair, straighten your clothes…do anything you can to spruce yourself up before walking into court. If you haven’t been in jail and are able to spend some time preparing, be sure to dress nicely. Judges appreciate it when they can tell you’ve taken the time to put on suitable attire. It shows you respect the process.
3. Do Not Bring Children to Court
Waiting for your time in court can be a long and drawn out process. You don’t need any distractions that may interfere with what’s happening in the courtroom. Children can bored easily and require attention. This not only becomes a challenge for you, but it can also be disruptive to others. It’s best to leave kids at home or with a family member.
4. Use Your Common Sense
Remember the basics: don’t chew gum, don’t bring drinks into the courtroom, remove your hat when entering, and be sure to turn your phone off. Whether you like it or not, you’re there to be judged in one-way or another. Anything you do that might be annoying or distracting can definitely rub the judge the wrong way. On the other hand, anything you do to give off a good vibe can go a long way in your favor.
The best thing to do is have a good, experienced defense attorney at your side. Your attorney will be able to coach you step by step through the court proceedings. Charlie Naegle has appeared in court with hundreds of defendants, including many who were there for the very first time. He understands that it can be overwhelming and embarrassing and will help you feel at ease as you go before the judge.
Contact Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys today for a free consultation.