Going to court can be a scary and intimidating experience. Whether you are making a court appearance for a simple traffic violation or to face criminal charges, it is important that you are properly prepared for the entire court process. From how to present yourself to being organized, here are a few tips to help you prepare for court.
Mind Your Manners
The presentation you make of yourself in the courtroom is nearly as important as presenting the evidence. Everyone in the courtroom, — the judge, jury, lawyers and witnesses — will be paying close attention to how you conduct yourself. It is extremely important to be polite to anyone that addresses you, including your opponent. Mind your manners and do not interrupt anyone who is addressing you. Throughout the proceedings, you should avoid looking down or like you're ashamed or embarrassed. Always make eye contact with the jury, the judge, the witnesses and the attorneys when speaking to them. It is also important to dress appropriately for the courtroom. Think business casual to business professional.
You should begin preparing for the court hearing as soon as possible. As soon as your bail is paid and you are released from jail, you need to get the ball rolling. Although you can represent yourself in court, it is not typically recommended, especially in a criminal case. If you can afford an attorney, hire one as soon as possible. If not, find out how to obtain a public defender through the court.
Prepare Your Defense
Preparing for, as well as taking part in, a court hearing or trial is overwhelming, stressful and complicated. The most important thing to do when preparing your defense is to get organized. This includes making copies of all documents pertinent to the hearing, gathering the information for your witnesses, collecting evidence and, perhaps most importantly, gathering your thoughts. If you have hired an attorney, it is essential that you avoid doing your own research and avoid comparing your case with cases similar to yours. Regardless of the similarities, every case is different, so let your attorney gather this information for you.
Having the appropriate documentation can be the determining factor on whether you win or lose your case. Make sure you have at least three copies of all documents, one for your opponent, one for the judge and one for you and/or your lawyer. Appropriate documentation can include a wide range of things, such as photographs, contracts, bills, receipts, letters and/or estimates, so it is best to bring any type of document relating to the case to court with you. Not only is organizing documents important, but it is equally important to organize your thoughts. Make a list of the main points you want to address and under each point, list the evidence and/or documents you may have that pertain to the situation. It is also important that you practice saying what you want to say, how you should say it and the tone of your voice when speaking.
After the hearing, it is important to get a copy of the judgment entry. If you had legal representation, your attorney will provide you with all information regarding the next steps. It is extremely important that you be aware of the requirements for you and/or your opponent following the hearing. For example, filing an appeal, paying judgments and/or additional related court dates.
For more information on getting a bail bond or preparing for court, contact Free at Last Bail Bonds. We're always available to help you through this tough time.