If you’re appearing in court, you want things to go your way. The judge and jury (if it’s a jury trial) will scrutinize everything you do and everything you say so it’s important to be alert, respectful, and mindful of your words and actions. Once you know what NOT to do, you’ll be closer to a positive outcome of your trial.
What You Shouldn’t Say
- Swears or words that show disrespect.
- Exaggerations. Just explain yourself in simple, truthful terms.
- Anything angry. It’s important to remain calm and measured.
- Prepared words. Don’t give a memorized story. The judge will want to hear what happened or answers to questions in your own words.
- A confession. This is something that should be discussed in private with your lawyer, not blurted out in court.
What You Shouldn’t Do
- Be late. It’s not merely looked down upon. You may be fined or if you’re out on bail, it could be revoked. Courts take punctuality seriously and they don’t like excuses so show up early.
- Come unprepared. If you have any paperwork or evidence, make sure you have it with you.
- Be disrespectful. The judge or jury will look down on it.
- Be oblivious of court rules. Take the time to understand the process so you know what’s going on with your own case.
- Make expressive facial expressions or hand gestures or mouth swear words. Do not sigh or roll your eyes. Keep your opinions to yourself.
- Dress like a mess. Come to court in clean and appropriate clothing. Dress to impress.
- Interrupt the judge or counsel. Wait until it is your turn to talk.
- Ignore the bailiff. He or she will explain the procedures that you need to know.
- Stay seated when talking. When it’s your turn to speak to the judge, stand.
- Leave your cell phone on. In fact, don’t bring it at all. You should be paying attention to what’s going on in the courtroom not distracted by your phone.
- Eat, smoke, or chew gum. It’s okay to drink water.
- Assume they know you’re there. You must check in with the court clerk and make sure your hearing hasn’t been postponed or moved to a different court.
- Be unorganized. If you have forms, papers, or evidence, keep it neat and orderly.
- Mumble. Always speak clearly and loudly when addressing the court of the judge.
- Offer information that wasn’t asked for. Don’t volunteer anything extra. It can be used against you.
Your court appearances should always be taken seriously. When you’re arrested, as part of your Miranda Warning, the arresting officer will inform you that “anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law”. This is also true when you’re in a court of law. You will be judged. But if you act appropriate and stay engaged at your hearing, the outcome will turn out better for you.
If you’ve been arrested, Mercy Bail Bonds is here to help. Call us at (727) 856-7775 and talk with one of our dedicated staff who can get the ball rolling on your release from jail. We’re open 24/7 and we always answer.