Preparing for your first court appearance isn’t an easy task. It’s uncomfortable and can be very stressful if you don’t know what to expect. Whether you’ve been charged with a DWI or accused of a misdemeanor, we know being tied up in court is not on your list of things you’d like to be doing this summer. Ludlum Law Firm has over 35 years of court room experience and we suggest the following tips to help you get through your trial.
1. Speak with your attorney prior to your court date.
Court procedures vary from county to county in North Carolina. Make an appointment to talk to your attorney about what to expect. Your lawyer should understand the court’s process and will let you know what is expected of you when you show up for trial.
2. Review all documents the court has sent.
Most likely you or your attorney received mailed documents from the courthouse. Be sure to read everything sent to you, especially if there’s specific court orders you must follow based on your case.
3. Get familiar with the court’s location beforehand.
Arriving late to your hearing doesn’t help you or your case. If you’re uncertain about the court’s location, we recommend taking a trip prior to your court date to familiarize yourself with the route and surrounding traffic. If traffic is busy, make sure to leave early to ensure you arrive on time. Also, be sure to find out where to park. Look for nearby street parking, off-street parking, or if there is a nearby parking garage.
4. Arrive early and meet with your attorney.
Make a plan with your attorney to meet at a designated time and place before your trial. This allows you to ask any last-minute questions and it helps everyone stay on the same page once court is in session.
5. Don’t forget about appearance.
Appearance matters in court. Think business professional – khakis, dress pants, or a skirt and a button-down shirt or nice blouse. It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the courthouse is dressed casually. You want the judge to know you’ve come prepared for court and taking the trial seriously.
6. Take advantage of your time when waiting.
Your trial date may be a busy day at the courthouse. If you’re waiting to be called for your court appearance, use that time to continue talking to your lawyer about your case. It’s your attorney’s job to make sure you feel confident going into court, so make the most of the time together beforehand.
7. Know how to speak during your trial.
This is your chance to convince the judge that your position is correct in the case. Your constitutional right to remain silent extends to court appearances. Do not say anything in court without first consulting with your lawyer. Answer any questions the judge may ask, but do not deviate from the interrogation and include unnecessary information. Speak slowly and calmly to display confidence and hold the attention of the court.
At Ludlum Law Firm, our mission is to make sure you go into your trial feeling self-assured and prepared. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, resourceful, and ready to fight for you when court begins. If you find yourself facing an upcoming court date in Sampson County or Duplin County, we want to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.