How to Make a Good Impression in the Courtroom
Making a good impression in court isn’t the same thing as making a good impression during a job interview or when meeting a landlord about renting an apartment. Criminal charges will have serious lasting impressions on your future, so the stakes are much higher. Going out of your way to demonstrate to the judge and jury that you understand the gravity of your situation, take this situation seriously, and have respect for the court and the legal system will impact how the court treats your case. If you’re scheduled for an upcoming court hearing, here are some tips for how you can make a good impression in court.
How Can You Make a Good Impression in Court?
When you’re on trial, a lot of things can happen that you can’t control, including what the prosecution does in making a case against you. You also have no control over what the judge or jury does. The only thing you have complete control over is your own behavior. It’s vital not to underestimate how important good behavior in the courtroom is, or the message it sends. You want to show that under these stressful conditions, you’re a responsible person and someone who can be trusted to show up for all future hearings.
If you want the judge and jury to see you that way, be sure to take these steps before and during your court appearance.
Show Up Early
Everyone knows it’s important to show up on time for a job interview, but it’s even more important to arrive in court early. Show up at least 15 minutes before you’re scheduled to appear. If your notice letter states your trial begins at 10 a.m., be there no later than 9:45. The worst thing you can do is walk in 5-10 minutes late, only to find the judge has already started proceedings and made a note of your absence. If for any reason you’ve kept the judge waiting, apologize and avoid excuses (like saying you had trouble finding someplace to park.)
Stay Off of Your Cell Phone
It can be challenging to resist the temptation to pull out our cell phones and check our texts or social media accounts in almost any setting. If you take your cell phone to court, however, being caught checking it during a trial makes it seem as if you could not be any less interested in the proceedings. The same is true if your cell phone rings during the trial. You’re well-advised to turn it off rather than put it on vibrate. Better yet, leave your phone at home or in your car. Some judges will confiscate your phone if they hear it ringing while the court is in session, which is a guaranteed way to make a bad impression.
It goes without saying that how you dress speaks volumes about how seriously you take the trial. Clothing that you’d wear while relaxing around your home isn’t suitable for a trial when you’re striving to look professional at all times. Avoid wearing t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops. If you’ve got anything flashy that you like to wear, save it for the nightclubs. Do dress conservatively. A solid-colored dark suit and matching tie would leave a more favorable impression than distracting attire that makes you stand out from the crowd. On that note, if you have tattoos, make sure they’re out of sight.
Avoid Emotional Outbursts
Going through a trial can be an emotional roller coaster that can make you feel anxious, scared, even angry about what the prosecutors are saying about you. But whatever you do, avoid any outbursts and keep your emotions in check.
Yes, it’s natural to experience strong emotions during a trial. There will be times when the prosecutors or witnesses say something you think is a blatant lie. But if you want to make a good impression, don’t show any signs of anger, frustration, or resentment. Try to keep a neutral facial expression at all times. That means you should avoid smiling, which could be taken as a grin — a sign that you think the proceedings are a joke. You don’t want the court or the judge to think you’re not taking this case seriously.
Following these tips demonstrates respect for the judge and your future. Speak to the judge at all times in a polite and courteous manner. Show respect for others in the courtroom as well, including clerks, court officers, and even the opposing party.
Get Experienced Criminal Defense from the Umansky Law Firm
A criminal case is a serious proceeding, and it’s important for any defendant to understand what he or she needs to do to get the most positive outcome. If you’re facing criminal charges, speak with a top-ranking Orlando criminal defense attorney right away. Don’t let prosecutors take advantage of your ignorance of the law. Your attorney can give you honest answers about your situation and create an aggressive defense to protect your freedom and future.
The Umansky Law Firm has more than 100 years of combined criminal defense experience, and has successfully defended thousands of clients in Orlando and surrounding areas. Our lawyers have experience as Florida state prosecutors, which gives your defense an edge in the courtroom. As recognized members of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, your case will be in the hands of competent attorneys with your best interests at heart. Call our office or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.