After getting arrested there can obviously be a lot of fear and frustration but once you are before a judge in a courtroom, it will be very important to make as good of an impression as possible. This will be true during the bond hearing where a judge will decide what to set bond at but also after being released when you will have to return for a scheduled hearing. Some may lash out in the courtroom and act or talk in a certain way but it is important to understand that even beyond the charges, your actions in the courtroom can affect how you are viewed which can directly correlate with conviction and sentencing severity. Here are a few courtroom etiquette rules that can help you be put in the best view.
Be respectful to the judge
When it comes to bond hearings and certain smaller cases there will be situations where you will never even see a jury but all aspects of the charges will be handled by the judge. The judge will be the one to handle your fate so it is vital to have a calm and respectful tone with them. Judges are not there to just give you the harshest sentence available and their job is to listen and get all the facts in order to make a fair and appropriate decision so if you speak to the judge respectfully and honestly, it will not only allow your story to be heard with clarity but it will also allow the judge to see you as an individual beyond what the charges say on paper.
Your court hearing is definitely not the time to dress like you’re going to the gym or out to run errands. Just like if you were applying for a job, what you wear to court matters. When you dress up it is telling the judge and jury that you are taking what you have done seriously and it is also out of respect for the others there. When you dress in jeans and t-shirts, it signals that you have not really thought about what has happened or the charges outside of court and it makes it seem like you really don’t care. Especially when it comes to juries, there are at least six people who will have the ability to judge you and if they have found enough evidence to convict the next thing they will try to determine is if the defendant is remorseful and when someone is dressed in conservative dark attire, it gives off that signal far more than casual wear would. When looking for something to wear, it’s best to think about what you would wear to a job interview as a good guideline for what would be considered a good choice.
It is totally understandable that one might be nervous for their hearing and since there is a lot of downtime, it can be easy to reach for your phone or book as something to distract from the nerves but it would, unfortunately, be a hurtful option. As with the way you dress making an impression, the way you conduct yourself even when not speaking directly to the judge will be important. The judge and jury want to see that you understand the severity of the situation so if they see you playing on your phone or casually reading a magazine, it gives the impression that you either don’t understand how serious the issue is or you don’t care. Even if you are distracted or nervous, try and be as mindful as possible so that there is no mistake that you are in the present moment and respectful of everyone’s time.