It’s not easy walking into a courtroom or navigating the legal system under any circumstances. If this is the first time you’ve made a court appearance, there might be a million thoughts racing through your mind, anxiety is on overdrive and your nerves are on high alert. The combination of not knowing what to expect and the financial and emotional stakes at hand can be unsettling.
When you have a court date, it’s normal to be nervous and wonder what is the appropriate way to act, what the process will be like, and what you should wear. If you are the defendant, the plaintiff, or a witness, your appearance, dress, demeanor and actions can affect how the court sees you and how successful you are in presenting your case. To be effective in court it’s important to prepare for trial.
Our experienced attorneys and staff at Schulze Law are prepared to handle all manner of criminal cases, from minor traffic violations to the very serious charges of kidnapping and homicide. Many criminal cases never go to trial, and we aggressively stand for our clients’ interests during plea negotiations. But, as criminal representation, we are not afraid of the courtroom. And in trial, we are not intimidated by the prosecution. With decades of experience and countless cases behind us, we cover the many areas of criminal law. We can help you prepare and tenaciously represent you in court. No one should have to fight criminal charges alone. With Schulze Law on your side, you won’t have to.
If you are headed to court, there are ways to help ease the stress and confusion. By planning ahead, you can reduce some tension and know what the heck to expect. With the help of FindLaw.com, here’s a list of top court tips you can use to survive your trip to the courtroom.
How to Survive Your Day in Court – tips and considerations to help through your courtroom experience:
Dress appropriately and professionally
Appearance matters when you go before a judge. Base your dress on what the customs are in the courthouse and how people are expected to dress. You just don’t want to show up and be the only one looking inappropriate.
Speak deliberately and slowly
You may be nervous, but do your best to slow down your speaking to a measured pace. A calm and deliberate voice will exude more confidence and command more attention in the room than a frenetic one.
Answer the question that is being asked
When you get a chance to testify, you may get the urge to tell the judge everything. Don’t do it! Launching into a long-winded story filled with irrelevant details will either bore or aggravate the judge. Remember, you don’t have all day to tell your story. Only answer the questions that you are asked. Keep your answers short. Don’t volunteer information. While you may not get the emotional satisfaction of having been able to “tell your story,” you probably will present a much more legally compelling case.
Don’t Make Stuff Up!
When someone asks us a question we don’t know the answer to, many times we give that person the answer we think they want to hear. We don’t mean to lie. Don’t do that when you’re testifying! If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know.” If you’re nervous and can’t recall something, admit, “I can’t recall that.” Finally, if you don’t understand the question, say, “I don’t understand what you’re asking.” Never, ever make up an answer. Period.
Know when to shut up
Simply put, know when to keep your mouth shut.
Don’t Be Defined By Your Rights
Some people in court often take our rights too far, suing over minor violations, thinking that there is a big payday on the other side of the litigation. However, for every case that is reported where a person gets a multi-million dollar award for a violation of their rights, there are countless others where the award is minimal, if anything at all. In most situations where there has been a minor violation of your rights, you may just want to ignore it, or ask the violating party in person to make amends.
Don’t Go To Court for Spite or Revenge
The courtroom is generally not the best location to seek revenge or to spite a person or entity. If you bring a lawsuit that lacks merit solely for the purpose of making the other person appear in court and feel embarrassed, he or she may turn around after your case is over and sue you for bringing a lawsuit for malicious reasons and abusing the court system.
Consider Mediation instead of Litigation
Mediation is less formal than litigation and seeks to find a middle ground where both parties can be satisfied. Many people are much more willing to compromise and settle situations when they do not feel the pressure to win or the fear of losing. In addition, mediation is a great idea because there is less pressure and worries about money and expenses. That said, here at Schulze Law we are not afraid of going to trail and will fight for your rights.
Ask for an Expert Opinion
It happens more often than you think it would — people get sucked into lawsuits that they have no chance of winning, and even less reason for continuing. The prospect of winning, of proving that you are right and the other side in the wrong, can be a strong motivation to stay in a lawsuit that you have no business being in. At Schulze Law we can help determine whether a cause is worth continuing.
Prepare for the unexpected and remain focused
What is the worst that the other side could say? What are the weakest parts of your case? Prepare for the other side to try to prove these. Don’t wait until after the hearing to say, “I should have said…” Practice what you would say and ignore the emotions.
Communicate With Your Lawyer
Your court case is ultimately in your control. The right lawyer will be communicative and you should be the same to be most successful throughout your legal proceedings. You should be fully engaged with your case and remain in control of major decisions with the help of your lawyer.
It is important to keep your cool and maintain professionalism despite the stressful situation and anxious feelings. Your day in court is a big concern, but it doesn’t have to be stressful and filled with anxiety. If you follow the tips above and hire the right attorney at Schulze Law, you can enjoy a less stressful day in court. By having reasonable expectations, being prepared and handling yourself well, your day in court will go as well as possible! Call Schulze Law today to discuss your case.