It has often been observed that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to some first encounters, this observation may carry far more weight than it does in regard to others. For example, if you have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, the impression you make in court could alter the entire course of your life. As a result, it is crucial to prepare for your time in court with great intention and seriousness of purpose.
If You’re “Over It”
It is entirely possible – and even understandable – that you may have zero interest in treating the court with any respect. Suppose you’ve been arrested as a result of violations of your rights, or you’ve been falsely accused, or you’re otherwise dealing with unjust circumstances. In that case, you may be tempted to intentionally treat your day in court with nonchalance or even purposeful disdain.
You need to resist that urge. Even if you are justifiably frustrated and annoyed with the entire process, your future self won’t appreciate you throwing away your best shot at securing the most favorable outcome you can. Don’t let your anger dictate your actions when you’re expected to appear in court. The stakes are just too high.
Preparing Your Appearance
Courthouses are government buildings. As a result, those who work within them adhere to a professional dress code. Depending on which area of the country you live in, your attorney may advise you to dress either professionally or semi-professionally. Don’t make assumptions if you have any questions about what your attorney is advising you to do. Ask. You’d rather feel a bit foolish for two minutes than regret making certain choices for the rest of your life.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to ensure your appearance is clean and neat when you walk into court. You’ll want to be sure that you’ve showered that morning and that your hair isn’t wild. You’ll want to be sure that your teeth are brushed and that you wear appropriate, closed-toed footwear.
Again, depending on which area of the country you live in, your attorney may also advise you to wear clothing that covers certain tattoos and to take out certain piercings. If you wear makeup, do not go overboard. For example, a court is not the place for thick, dark eyeliner, bright eyeshadow, and unusual lip colors.
Also, take care that your clothes are clean and fit appropriately. Also, remember that “professional or semi-professional” may mean something different to you than it would to a judge. To you, dressing up may mean putting on a skirt, for example. But if the skirt you choose is too tight, too short, ripped, textured in certain ways, or too “loud” in its color, your effort may not have the desired effect. Again, if you have questions about whether your appearance-related choices are or are not appropriate for your appearance in court, ask your attorney. Your appearance shouldn’t be consequential in a criminal defense context, but it might be.
Preparing Your Decorum
The criminal courts in Michigan observe certain protocols and expect those who enter to engage in specific etiquette. For example, if you have ever watched a legal drama, you’re likely familiar with the bailiff’s request that “all rise” (meaning, “Everyone, stand up!”) out of respect when a judge enters the courtroom. Even if you’re seething with rage about the injustice of your circumstances, you’ll need to observe this etiquette, or you’ll only risk hurting the outcome of your case. If you come across as belligerent and uninterested in showing respect to the court, the court is unlikely to show you respect in return.
Speaking of respect, you’ll want to behave in ways that illustrate respect for the court and the process to make a positive impression. For example, you’ll want to be on time. To facilitate this goal, research transportation, parking, and traffic conditions ahead of time so that you aren’t unintentionally late due to some issue with getting where you need to go.
Similarly, you’ll want to speak only when spoken to by the judge. Don’t call out, and don’t use a disrespectful tone or profanity. If you need to get the court’s attention but the judge is engaged, you should be able to respectfully approach the clerk to relay whatever you need to say.
Additionally, beware of engaging in any behavior that can be considered distracting. Get a sitter for your kids, don’t bring them along. Don’t bring food into the courtroom. Silence your phone, and do not mess around with it while your case is being considered. Don’t put your feet up, take your shoes off, or slouch to a degree that draws the eye. Essentially, you’ll want to behave as if a strict grandmother figure is watching how you behave while attending religious services, and there will be consequences if she is displeased.
To Learn More, Contact A Dedicated Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At George Law, our dedicated attorneys understand just how important the outcome of any criminal defense case is. We understand that it is not just possible legal penalties that are at stake for a client. It is also their ability to live life how they want to in the future. As a result, we treat every case with the seriousness and sense of urgency that it deserves. From crafting the strongest possible criminal defense strategy to ensuring that our clients are prepared to make a good impression when they enter a courtroom, we do what needs to be done for those we represent.
To learn more about our firm and how our attorneys can help you and your family during challenging times, you can schedule a free case evaluation by utilizing the chat feature on our website, calling (248) 247-7459 or by submitting a form on our contact page. No matter how you decide to reach out, we look forward to hearing from you.