6 Steps to Prepare for Your Court Appearance | Absolute Bail Bonds
Unfortunately, you were recently arrested and charged with a crime. Fortunately, you were released on bail. While you’re glad you’re not in jail right now, you’re understandably nervous about the outcome of your case.
While you wait for your sentencing, you need to prepare for your court appearance. The more prepared you are, the better the trial will go—and, hopefully, the better result you’ll get.1. Find a Lawyer
Representing yourself in court typically isn’t a great idea. A good lawyer has likely handled dozens of cases similar to yours. He or she knows what evidence and witnesses you need to portray a successful argument. Plus, a lawyer has the experience and expertise to help you obtain a successful outcome for your case.
Many people avoid finding a lawyer because they worry about the cost. However, there are ways to find an affordable lawyer. You could visit a legal aid society that connects low-income people with free legal services. Alternatively, you could look for a lawyer who is willing to represent you on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyer won’t charge you anything unless they win your case.2. Confirm Your Court Date
Missing your court appearance could bring dire consequences. If you were released on bail, missing your court date means that you’ll have to bear the entire cost of the bail. If you do show up to your court appearance, you’ll get your money back (aside from the fee you paid the bail bonds company).
The court should mail you the date and time of your court appearance. If you haven’t received any mail from the court system, call the clerk’s office to verify your court date.3. Gather Evidence and Witnesses
As you meet with your lawyer, your lawyer will likely talk to you about evidence for your case. You can help your lawyer gather evidence such as:
- Police reports
- Videos and photos of the crime and arrest
- Your medical records
Your lawyer may also ask you for ideas of who they could call as witnesses. Think about whose testimony could help prove that you’re not guilty. Witnesses could include people who saw the incident. You could also call on medical doctors or acquaintances who can verify your good character.
Make sure your witnesses know when they’ll need to arrive, and remind them as the date gets closer. If you are afraid your witnesses will not show up, you can issue a subpoena. A subpoena is an order that requires the witnesses to arrive at court or they will face arrest.4. Practice Your Testimony
The judge will surely ask you to explain your side of the story. You don’t want to stumble over your words or end up with no idea what to say.
To prepare, write down notes about what happened and about what outcome you want and why. Now, break your notes into main points and review these points with your lawyer. Your lawyer will help you know what points can support your case and what points can hurt your case.
Practice giving your testimony in front of a mirror or in front of a friend. The more you practice, the less nervous you’ll feel.5. Bring Paperwork and Evidence
If your lawyer or the court has asked you to fill out any forms, make sure to bring them with you to your trial. You’ll also want to bring a written list of your witnesses. Finally, you’ll need to bring any evidence, whether it’s digital, photographic, or written. Bring several copies of all photographs and paperwork.
When you arrive at the courtroom, the clerk will mark your evidence and let you know what to do with it.6. Plan to Arrive Early
Remember that missing your court appearance can be disastrous. And being late can also leave a negative impression on the judge and jury. By heading to your court appearance early, you can make sure you’re in the right place at the right time.
You can further leave a good impression on the judge and jury by dressing professionally. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wear a suit or a dress, but you should opt for a nice shirt or blouse with slacks. Avoid dirty or ripped clothing. It’s a good idea to remove piercings, hide tattoos, and avoid extreme hair colors. These style choices simply help you look more professional.
Also, since court appearances can be incredibly stressful, do something calming—like listening to classical music—before you arrive.
Follow these tips to prepare for a successful court date and you’ll be more likely to get a good outcome.
Of course you would rather prepare for your court appearance at your home than in a jail cell. If you need help getting released from jail, count on a bail bonds company like Absolute Bail Bonds Company. We offer efficient and reliable help to get you released on bail.