Tips from criminal lawyers – How to behave in court?
The court process can be intimidating and stressful for defendants. To increase your chances of success, you can present yourself in the best possible light.
Your appearance and attire influence how you are perceived in court. Maintain a neat, clean, and professional appearance. Dress conservatively for work in a suit or pantsuit for women. Shoes, jeans, shorts, and T-shirts are not appropriate. Messages or slogans shouldn’t be worn. Make sure all piercings are removed. Avoid tattoos if possible. Maintain a well-groomed hairstyle and facial hair. Not a troublemaker, but an upstanding citizen.
Arrive early to all court hearings and meetings. Double-check the time and date and double-check at least 15 minutes ahead. Make sure you arrive on time. Judges frown on tardiness and it looks irresponsible. Whenever you arrive late, apologize politely and provide a short explanation to the judge. Be careful not to repeat it.
Courtrooms expect and demand decorum. Be on your best behavior and don’t do anything that could be seen as disruptive. Address the judge formally as “Your Honor” or “Judge [last name]”. Don’t interrupt the judge or attorneys. Don’t make facial expressions, gestures, noises, or comments while the court is in session. If you need to communicate privately with your lawyer, pass a note or whisper very quietly. Follow all instructions given to you by court officers. Losing your temper or acting up will only hurt you in the eyes of the judge and prosecutors.
Do not lie under oath
If you choose to testify, you will have to swear under oath to tell the truth. Do not lie or attempt to mislead the court. That is perjury and lead to additional criminal charges against you. If you don’t recall certain facts, say so. Don’t guess or make up answers. It’s better to say you don’t remember than to be caught in a lie later. Before testifying, discuss what questions you’ll be asked and what answers to give with your attorney.
Listen to your lawyer’s advice
Brampton local criminal lawyers represents your interests in court. Follow their advice on whether to testify, accept a plea bargain, contact prosecutors, etc. Unless you have strong reasons not to follow their lead, trust their legal expertise. Prosecutors and judges know what to expect. Hire them and put your faith in them.
No matter what is said by prosecutors, witnesses, or even the judge, remain calm. Do not shout, argue, or interrupt. If you feel your temper rising, take some deep breaths and regain composure. Emotional outbursts will only cement a perception of you as hot-headed or reckless. Keep cool and let your lawyer make objections or counterarguments on your behalf at the appropriate time.
Be cooperative not combative
You have a right to vigorously defend yourself in court. However, be cautious about being overly argumentative or hostile toward prosecutors, witnesses, or court officers. That will signal contempt for the legal process. Be firm yet polite if questioned. Don’t refuse to answer questions unless your lawyer advises you to invoke your right to remain silent. Two the justice system frowns on “difficult” defendants.