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Courtroom Etiquette: How To Conduct Yourself In Court

Mercer County Criminal Defense Attorney

First impressions matter. This sentiment especially holds true in a courtroom, where all eyes are on the defendant for a majority of the time. The judge, jury, witnesses, and the prosecutor are all scrutinizing the defendant to see his or her reactions, behaviors, attitude, and even attire.

If you are a defendant who will be appearing in court, you must take the advice of a seasoned Mercer County criminal defense attorney: How you are perceived in the courtroom is important – others’ perceptions of you is largely influenced by your own behavior. You have the power to sway the opinion of those that matter.

Proper Conduct and Appearance

Sitting in a courtroom having people argue about something you allegedly did is a nerve wracking experience. Experiencing anxiety, anger, resentment, embarrassment, and maybe even apathy are all common feelings for defendants. The key is to remain in control of your emotions.

Some defendants falsely believe that they don’t have to behave until they are in sitting in the court room. If you wait until this point, the damage may already be done. Instead, proper preparation begins before you even leave the house. Dress appropriately, and be conscious of your actions and behavior even while walking into the courthouse. You never know who may be watching.

Follow these tips to ensure that you make a great first impression.

Dress to Impress. Your physical appearance says a lot about you. You should keep it conservative in the courtroom: dressing in a suit, combing your hair, and wearing minimal jewelry will help you achieve a mature, professional look.

Be Polite. Most people don’t particularly feel like being polite to a lawyer who is trying to convict them of a crime, but it is in your best interest to treat the prosecutor, and everyone else in the courtroom, with respect. Saying “please” and “thank you” go a long way, as does eye contact, refraining from interrupting, and being on time.

Body Language Matters. A big mistake some defendants make is not paying attention to what they are nonverbally communicating to observers in a courtroom. Slouching, scowling, and crossing your arms tend to give off negative vibes to a jury. It is best to sit up straight, pay attention, and keep an even-keeled face, even when you do not agree with what is said.

Address the Judge Properly. The judge is the ultimate authority in the courtroom, and you must treat him or her with respect. When speaking to the judge, refer to them as “your honor,” look them in the eye, and never use inappropriate language.

Consult With A Trusted Mercer County Criminal Defense Attorney

Your attorney should help prepare you for your day in court. They will go over suggested attire, respectful behavior, and how to deal with hearing statements in court that you disagree with.

If you need a trusted Mercer County criminal defense attorney by your side, contact Mark Catanzaro, an experienced lawyer who guides his clients through the difficult times in all sorts of criminal matters.


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