Every year, there are over 10 million arrests made throughout the country. Many of the people who are arrested have to make court appearances because of it.
If you were arrested recently, you might have a court hearing coming up soon. You should make it your mission to do everything in your power to have a successful first appearance in court.
If you don’t prepare in advance for your first court appearance, you could be subjected to all kinds of fines and other penalties. You could even end up doing jail time simply because you didn’t plan ahead.
Going to court for the first time following an arrest can be stressful. But you can make the most of it and put yourself into a better position to have a favorable outcome by playing your cards right.
Here are five things to know about making a first appearance in court.
1. Hire a Lawyer Before Your First Appearance in Court
If you were arrested for pretty much any reason at all, you should hire a lawyer to represent you prior to making your first appearance in court. You should almost never attempt to represent yourself in court.
If you don’t hire a lawyer to help you in court, things could end up being a whole lot worse for you than they would be otherwise. You might pay the price for getting something like a reckless driving ticket.
Hiring a lawyer will obviously force you to spend some money. But you might save your fair share of money by taking this approach since a lawyer will know how to handle your case.
2. Work With a Lawyer to Prepare
In the weeks leading up to your first court appearance, you and your lawyer should meet at least a couple of times to go over your case. They should evaluate your case from every angle and speak with you about how they would like to proceed.
In some instances, a good lawyer might be able to get your case thrown out of court. It’ll enable you to walk away from your case without paying anything other than some court fees and attorney costs.
But even if you aren’t able to get your case dismissed, a lawyer will be able to analyze your case and decide the best course of action moving forward. It’ll make your first court appearance seem so much less daunting.
3. Pick Out the Right Outfit
When it’s time to actually go to court to have a hearing for your case, you should put some serious thought into what you’ll wear. Your goal should be to wear something that shows that you’re taking your case seriously and want to make amends.
If you show up for a court case in, say, jeans and a T-shirt, a judge isn’t going to take you as seriously as they would if you were wearing a suit. You might not need to go as far as to throw a suit on. But you should dress presentably so that a judge sees that you’re making an effort to get on their good side.
4. Make Sure You Show Up On Time
The absolute last thing that you want to do when you head to court for the first time is show up late. A judge might throw the book at you if you do this!
You might get lucky and have a case that doesn’t get called until the end of a day in court. But you might also have a case that gets called much sooner than that, and if it does, it’s not going to be a good thing if you’re not in attendance yet.
A judge might actually go as far as to issue a warrant for your arrest if they believe that you’re trying to get out of your initial court appearance. Or if nothing else, they might hold your lateness against you when it comes time to make a ruling in your case.
5. Trust Your Lawyer to Speak for You During Your First Appearance in Court
One thing that you’ll really appreciate about having a lawyer in your corner representing you during your case is that you won’t have to talk hardly at all at your first hearing. Your lawyer will be the one in charge of doing all the talking for you.
Your lawyer should tell you this, but you shouldn’t ever attempt to speak in court unless your lawyer gives you the go-ahead. You could say something that will seriously hurt your case and put your lawyer in a tough spot.
You’re going to be shelling out some money for your lawyer, so let them earn their pay. Prepare to sit back and watch while they take care of everything during your first appearance in court.
Know What to Expect During Your First Court Appearance
Going to court is never fun. You’re going to feel some combination of nervous, anxious, and helpless all at once.
But you can make the most of your first appearance in court by taking each of the steps that we’ve laid out here. They’ll guide you in the right direction as you seek to minimize the penalties that you’ll face in court.
Do you want to get some more great advice on hiring a lawyer to help you in court? Get your hands on useful tips that will help you do it by browsing through our other blog articles.