It’s important to be prepared for your big day in court. Every detail is significant. In the first section, we emphasized the importance of a defendant collaborating with their attorney in the pretrial phase. In the second section, we discussed how defendants need to show up on time, dress professionally, and be presentable. In this final section, we will discuss the defendant’s conduct in court. As a criminal defense law firm in Tampa, we believe that all defendants deserve an unbiased judgment on their trial date. When our clients walk into that courtroom, we want them to be treated with the respect they deserve.
Body language is a real thing and you can express a lot without saying much. In fact, your facial expressions alone can tell a story without uttering a single word. In the courtroom, you do not want to show a wide range of emotions. You don’t want to be scowling at the jury and you certainly don’t want to be foolishly grinning ear-to-ear either. You want to look stoic. In some cases, the defendant spends their time writing in a legal pad. This can help some people keep their composure. It’s best not to look down too often; however, if that helps you maintain your emotions then it’s not the worst thing either. Ideally, you want to be alert but not emotionally attached to every statement said about you.
It’s great to look the part and have the right body language, but this all goes out the window if you fail to act appropriately and say the right things at the right time. Courts have old traditions and certain requirements that can be very telling to a judge or jury if they are ignored by a defendant. In fact, defiance isn’t usually perceived as a positive thing in a courtroom. You should always rise when asked to, be courteous to the employees and people within the courtroom, and make sure to address the judge in a respectful tone. Whether you address the judge as “Your Honor” or “Sir” or “Ma’am” is up to you; however, you need to remember that, along with your case, the jury is also evaluating your personality and conduct at all times. Don’t give them anything to nitpick at.
Presenting yourself in court can be stressful; however, mentally preparing yourself, looking presentable, and having the right attitude can greatly benefit your case.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.