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3 key things to remember before appearing in criminal court

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Appearing before a judge can be anxiety-inducing, regardless of whether you believe you are innocent or guilty. After all, this is criminal court, and your future is on the line. How you carry yourself, what you wear and how you speak can all impact the judge’s impression of you.

Don’t be late

Prepare to be in court at least 30 minutes early. Showing up late to an appointment this important may send a message that you do not value your future.

Many people struggle to sleep the night before their hearing because they’re obsessing over details. That’s normal, but there are ways to go about it.

While it may seem like a good idea, this is not the time to deal with your anxiety by drinking or taking medication. Instead, try setting a deadline for thinking and talking about your case. Past that, it’s time to unwind. Enjoy a nice dinner, go on a walk or spend time with your family.

If you tend to be chronically late, consider having someone else check in and ensure you’re ready to leave before your appointment.

Dress like it’s a job interview

What you wear may have little influence on your case, but it can still impact how the judge perceives you. Dressing appropriately shows respect for the court and the judge.

Think of it like a job interview. While you don’t have to be in business attire, strive to wear something clean, neat and pressed. Be as conservative as possible; avoid shorts, ripped jeans or sandals.

Control your emotions

It can be tough trying to control your anger when you don’t agree with the judge or what a witness is saying about you. However, losing your temper or becoming hysterical could cast you in a negative light and cost you the judge’s or jury’s sympathy.

If you have concerns or are unsure about something the judge or anyone in court says, whisper it to your attorney or discuss it outside of court. Let them do the talking for you.

Appearing in criminal court can be exhausting for defendants emotionally and mentally. That’s why it’s so important to get ready ahead of time. Confide in your lawyer if you have any concerns, especially if this is your first time appearing in court. Lawyers are an invaluable resource; you can benefit from their familiarity with the criminal justice system.