Preparing for Your First Criminal Court Appearance

You might feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospect of your first appearance in criminal court. After all, there is probably a lot at stake. However, if you are well prepared for this appearance and keep a calm and level head, you can assuredly get through this and through any necessary subsequent appearances as well.

Here are some things you should keep in mind as you prepare for your first criminal court appearance:

  • You are going to be nervous: It is completely natural and expected for you to be nervous about your first criminal court appearance. You are probably going to get tongue-tied or even a little flustered, so just remember to take a deep breath and attempt to compose yourself. A judge will not get angry with you simply for appearing to be nervous or scared.
  • Always be polite: This includes everyone, from the judge to the clerk and bailiff, even the court reporter.  When speaking to the judge, exercise proper etiquette and address him or her by replying, “yes, your honor,” or “no, your honor.” You should also keep in mind that judges are aware of how you treat their staff, so even if you are not in court, make sure you are polite at all times.
  • Speaking in court: Hopefully, you secured experienced legal representation, which means you will not be required to say much in court since he or she will speak on your behalf. Make sure you have had a chance to speak with your attorney and that he or she understands your goals. Anytime you are asked a question directly by the judge, reply accordingly and politely.
  • Dress appropriately: While a suit is certainly not required, it would be wise to at least wear a shirt with a collar and a pair of dress pants and dress shoes. For women, try not to wear anything too revealing. It is generally a good rule of thumb for both men and women to avoid wearing shorts, hats, or generally anything that might appear sloppy. You should also refrain from chewing gum or evoking an attitude that exudes apathy.
  • Be punctual: This is one appointment you absolutely do not want to be late for. If you know for certain that you will not be on time, call the judge’s clerk and your attorney to let them know that you are unavoidably delayed. If you fail to inform anyone, it is likely that a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Instead of worrying about informing the clerk or your lawyer that you will be late, it is best to do your best to be early to your court appearance.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Cleveland

At Patituce & Associates, our Cleveland criminal defense team believes in pursuing justice for our clients and their families. Backed by over 70 years of legal experience, we have earned a reputation for exceptional and diligent advocacy among our clients and peers. If you are facing criminal charges, do not gamble with your future. Choose a law firm you can count on.

Contact our office today at (440) 709-8088 to speak directly with an attorney.