If you are set to appear before a judge for the first time, you may be justifiably nervous, especially if you don’t know much about the law.
However, there are people who can help you prepare for your first court appearance, such as your criminal defense attorney.
The criminal law professionals from Monder Criminal Lawyer Group share some insights about how best to prepare for the first appearance in court.
Know What Charges You Are Facing
If you have been arrested, and are set to appear before the judge, you most likely know broadly what the crime is that you are accused of.
However, knowing exactly what kind of charges to expect can greatly help your composure and preparedness in court.
What’s more, it may be vital for your attorney to know what exactly the charges are. You can find out by yourself by calling the District Attorney’s office.
Keep in mind that you may be held accountable for everything you say during that conversation, so be careful with your phrasing.
Ask Around About Your Bail
The courts in California, and in San Diego in particular, have a relatively fixed bail system. However, the judge has the discretion to either increase or reduce bail if they deem it necessary.
Compare your bail to the bail typically assigned to a case like yours, and you might get an indication about what the judge thinks about your case.
If you are already on probation for another case, chances are that you will not be able to post bail, and will have to await trial in jail.
Be There on Time
When your day in court arrives, make sure that nothing stops you from arriving on time. Take into account the worst possible traffic and any eventuality which might delay you.
Most criminal defense attorneys will suggest that you arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your schedule, but that is certainly up to you.
If you don’t arrive on time, the judge might consider you a less trustworthy person, or a person who isn’t taking the situation seriously, which might negatively reflect on your case.
What If You Don’t Show Up?
If you decide to skip your court date, you will be considered a bail jumper and the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.
You can be certain that any kind of alleviating circumstances which you might have counted on are long gone, and that you will need to await your next court date in jail.
Wear the Right Clothes
If this is your first offense, you have a great opportunity to make a good first impression.
Even though the judge should be impartial, they are only human, and you might be able to make that work for you.
Wear smart clothes, like you would for a job interview. This is an important and solemn occasion, and your clothes should reflect that, as should your demeanor.
Watch What You Say
Just as your clothes will speak volumes, so too will you yourself. When the judge asks you questions, make sure to give straight and complete answers, without going on tangents.
Furthermore, remember that this is court and that the judge is a figure of high authority and demands respect.
If you are polite and respectful, you will go a long way in representing yourself in the best possible light and may ultimately influence the outcome of your case for the better.
Your attorney will be there for the much of your first journey through the complexities of the legal system. When picking out your attorney, make sure that you can trust them and that they are calm and helpful in their interaction with you.