Picture of a light bulb taken by Ian Britton: Freefoto.com
The court process is a long and stressful process for most. Some of the reasons why the process is difficult are that the system is slow, there are few explanations and the rules and procedures are cumbersome and confusing. So here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the criminal justice system a little more bearable.
- Keep all your paperwork. Don’t throw anything out or be careless with any documents that are given to you. The court and district attorney will usually give you information that is important for your case. So make sure you keep all the documents that you are given and bring them to your attorney.
- Dress to impress. This one sounds silly I know, but there are so many people that go to court in sweatshirts, baggy clothes, revealing shirts and other horrific attire that this is worth mentioning. First impressions are important and the first thing that a judge or DA will notice is your clothing. Dress like you would if you were going to a very important interview. One judge I know won’t call your case until your shirt is tucked in. So be smart, dress well and it will win you points.
- Be on time. This one sounds simple, but if you don’t get to court when your case is called you can be defaulted. If a default enters it usually comes with a warrant out for your arrest. People who show up late usually can get the default removed, but also will have to wait until all the other cases are called. Depending on the court you should be prepared to wait a long time. Don’t bother with the excuse of bad weather, problems in getting a ride or anything else. If the judge is there, he expects you to be there.
- No cell phones or talking. Most courts won’t allow cell phones anymore, so leave them in your car or at home. Many courts don’t even have a place to keep your stuff while you are at the court, so just don’t bring your phone. Also be quiet in the court room. I know you may be pretty bored waiting for your case to be called, but an annoyed or angry judge is bad news.
- Be respectful. Look, I know you don’t want to be in court, who does? However, you need to keep your cool and keep your head on straight. Don’t argue with the DA or judge, don’t swear and don’t make faces. The last thing you want to happen is for the judge to hold you for contempt.
- Hire an attorney. The process is stressful and there are many pitfalls. The stakes are high, the penalties are serious and the case may affect the rest of your life. Be smart hire a professional and remember these tips.
- Finally, this shouldn’t even be a tip, but I have seen this happen so I will cover this point. DON’T BRING WEAPONS AND DRUGS TO COURT WITH YOU! Yes I have seen cases in which people are charged for bringing weapons and drugs to court. They were searched after the metal detector was set off and then weapons and drugs were found on the person. You would think it would be common sense, but I have seen it happen. So my last tips is don’t carry contraband with you to court.
Massachusetts Probate and Family Court tips
Minnesota State Court tips
Traffic Court tips
Delaware State Court tips
Illinois Legal Aid Video
Hawaii State Court tips
For more information: visit www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902