Those being accused of a crime are placed in a precarious situation within the courtroom. Whether they are guilty or not, the behavior of the accused person can have a negative impact on their future. Even parties found innocent could end up being taken to prison for misbehavior. Those people who are found guilty could receive additional sentencing for not acting appropriately. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for those accused of a crime.
1. Always be on time.
When attending a hearing, it is important to remember that the judge is in charge. It is helpful to think of the courtroom as the judge’s home. You should always be on time. Any tardiness will instantly reflect poorly on the accused. There is no reason to give judges any reason to dislike you from the very beginning.
2. Dress appropriately.
The same analogy of the courtroom being like the judge’s house can be applied to this point as well. You wouldn’t show up at a judge’s house with a t-shirt and jeans. The same thinking needs to be applied to a hearing. Make sure that you dress appropriately in formal attire. A suit or button-up shirt with a tie should be enough for men. Women are advised to wear something business casual.
3. Don’t use any defamatory language or aggressive tones.
Everything is recorded very carefully in a courtroom. Any use of profanity or aggressive language will immediately be captured forever and easily proven in future hearings. You should always control your temper and only speak in a calm and collected manner. If you don’t have anything productive to say, then it is better to remain silent. Silence will not get you in more trouble than exploding out of anger.
4. Respect and acknowledge all of the jurors.
Many accused individuals make the mistake of focusing on jurors they think could save their case. Instead of focusing on those that will rule in your favor, make sure to pay attention to the entire cast of jurors. You should always respond respectfully and answer their questions as clear as possible. Eye contact is a great way to establish rapport.
5. Don’t react to threats from the interrogators.
According to Eben Rawls from Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo Law Firm, interrogators will use tactics like reverse psychology, leaving the accused person alone for long periods of time, or even threatening family members to get a confession. For this reason, it is important to ask for an attorney before you say anything. Any threats received from the interrogators should be addressed respectfully in a controlled manner or ignored completely.
The accused person should always consult their attorney surrounding any uncertainties in these scenarios.
6. Respect the staff that works in the courthouse.
The judge isn’t the only person who works at a courthouse. There are officers, clerks, record keepers and many other positions that make up a functioning courtroom. You should always show respect and pay attention to all of these employees when possible. Judges will take notice of these gestures.
In order to secure a favorable position in the courtroom, accused parties need to follow this list of do’s and don’ts. One mistake could mean the difference between a harsher and more lenient sentence. Behavior in the courtroom is an important factor that will be taken into account by the jurors and the judge. Being polite, honest and respectful could earn the accused lighter sentences. This is an important possibility that shouldn’t be ignored.