How you conduct yourself in the courtroom can impact your case significantly. If the judge or jury thinks you’re being impertinent, they will do what they do best: judge you. You obviously don’t want to show up in shorts and flip flops, blaring music from your headphones, unshaven or otherwise not looking the part. Much of the etiquette of the courtroom is simple, but there are some things that you may not have considered before the big day.
Try to show up at least 15 minutes before your trial is set to start, dressed in business attire. Even if you may not get called for hours, it’s best to be there early. Do not show up late, as this can put the judge in the wrong frame of mind. Make sure that any and all witnesses are in court with you and ready to testify. They may not be needed for hours, but it’s important that they’re there and ready as this can have an impact on the state’s case.
Do not chew gum, drink or eat in the courtroom, read, or sleep. Be ready to go and aware when the judge calls your case. Stand when he or she enters the room and make sure you listen to the court staff in case they require you to stand again. Always be respectful in the courtroom.
Before the Judge
First and foremost, know your papers. Your Maryland criminal defense lawyer will go over everything with you, but it’s very important that you know what’s going on in your case. You should be familiar with the documents and or potential testimony in your case. Always address the judge by “Your Honor.” The last thing you want to do is insult a judge in his own courtroom. Be clear and concise with everything else you say. It is important that you stick to your facts and avoid rambling or going off on a tangent. If you are called up to speak, stick to talking about what is important for your case. Defendants routinely get in more trouble by rambling on about topics which give judges and the prosecutor more ammunition to use against you. Therefore, it is best not to speak unless you must and then only with counsel’s approval.
After the Decision
Keep your cool. Whether you’re happy with the outcome or not, you need to stay focused and be stoic. You should have been controlling your emotions and staying collected through the whole case. If you have questions about what happens after any verdict, ask your lawyer, they are the best source of information.
Remember that your attitude and etiquette in court can affect your outcome, particularly in jury trials as members of the jury are watching you and your reactions to the evidence and proceedings AT AL TIMES even outside the courtroom.
Robinson & Associates, located in Baltimore, Maryland is a premiere criminal defense law firm practicing for over 20 years. With a former state’s attorney and former public defender, they have the necessary resources and experience to help resolve your situation quickly and successfully while supporting you throughout this difficult time.
To learn more about this blog or to schedule your free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer, give Bruce Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.