Your Day In Court - Part II
Your Day in Court – Part II
Last time, we covered Your Day in Court – Part I, detailing the judicial processes that occur before a trial date, from events that happen prior to an arrest, through depositions and trial date determination. Today, along with a few tips leading up to your day, we’re looking closer at Your Day in Court – Part II, your actual trial.
Plan Ahead for Your Day in Court
You and your lawyer by now have likely completed all the steps that are required by law for your successful hearing. But how you personally prepare outside the courtroom may help you as well.
Make sure you know ahead of time where your hearing will take place. It’s important to know the building. But remember, some buildings can be quite large with many floors and complicated room number systems. It may help you to attend a few hearings prior to your trial so you can have a better grasp on the procedures used.
The Morning of Your Day in Court
Your innocence or guilt may be determined by a jury of your peers, or if you and the court system agreed, by a simple hearing with a judge. Either way, it’s important to look and act professional during your day in court.
It isn’t necessary for you to purchase a new wardrobe, but tie your shoes, tuck in your shirt and leave the hat behind. Don’t chew gum or wear earbuds. Your attention should be focused solely on your trial. A good rule of thumb: consider how you would judge yourself based on your appearance.
Your demeanor is just as important as your looks. It may sound odd, but consider doing some quick exercises to help you reduce anxiety and combat stress. Breathing techniques are often used to help people relax prior to public speaking. Additionally, some simple movements may help to give you the burst of calm confidence you may want during your trial. A quick jog or even easy stretching could be all you need.
Your Day in Court
The day is here. Certainly, you and your lawyer have been preparing for your court date. Together, you have reviewed any timelines that are pertinent to your case, any documents that support your position are in hand, and you and your attorney are ready for the day.
Arrive early. It is better to be early and have some quiet time to wait and mentally prepare than to be frantically searching for a room.
Keep your support to a minimum. One or two people in the gallery is sufficient. It’s nice to have a friendly face with you, but too many people may act as a distraction for you.
Your lawyer will likely have all your necessary documents, but if you have copies, it doesn’t hurt to bring those along as well. Remember, the judge, the jury, the prosecutor and the defense all need copies of your documents. Keep these neatly together in a file. Bent corners and flying papers do not present well.
During Your Day in Court
You and your lawyer may be seated in the gallery prior to your case being called. Once called, stand quietly with your lawyer until you are asked to be seated, either by the court or by your lawyer.
The prosecuting attorney will be present as well, and seated across from you and your counsel, facing the judge.
The judge presides at the front of the courtroom, at the judge’s bench. The space between the bench and your counsel’s table is called the well, and typically, only lawyers and officers and clerks of the court are permitted in this area. Only if a judge specifically asks you to approach the bench should you enter this space. Be sure to call the judge “Your Honor.”
If your hearing includes a jury, they will be seated in the jury box, usually off to the side. It is inappropriate for you to communicate with the jurors. In fact, it is best to try to keep your attitude as neutral as possible throughout the procedure because your reactions may be interpreted by the jury. And potentially, for the worse.
Be sure to remain quiet during your hearing unless spoken to. Though you may disagree with something that is said, you should not try to dispute it on the spot. Your lawyer will catch these contradictions and through questioning, present your side of the events. You may, after consideration between you and your lawyer, decide to testify. There, you will be sworn in, vowing to tell the complete truth.
Depending on your case, other witnesses may be called to the stand to testify under oath as well. They will be questioned by counsel and cross-examined for potential changes in their story. Your counsel will have a fairly set line of questioning based on the discovery process prior to your court day. The questions asked will be used to create doubt as to your guilt, helping the jury to see your innocence.
Remember, it is not necessary for you and your lawyer to prove your innocence, but the prosecution’s job to prove your guilt. The jury must find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution, and the jury must believe whole-heartedly and unanimously that you are guilty for you to receive a verdict of guilty. The jury will deliberate privately to come to their conclusion.
Once a verdict is reached, it is conveyed to the judge. The presiding juror will read the verdict aloud for the court to hear. It is with professional counsel that you will have the greatest chance for a successful trial.
Your Best Defense is to Have Professional Defense
Bartlett Law Offices offers your best defense. We will help you to feel as prepared and as comfortable as possible for your day in court. Visit our webpage and fill out our simple form. We can even text you back. Or, if you’re just looking to speak to someone, call us. We’re available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m at 727-712-7502.
We believe that before you are in need of a second chance, you need the best defense for your first chance! Bartlett Law Offices has the experience you need to handle any criminal charges against you. You can trust that we will provide you with a professional, ethical, and knowledgeable defense.