So you’ve been arrested, and now you’re not quite sure what to do from here?
After you have made bail, you will need to start thinking of the next steps. With a rapidly approaching court appearance date, you will want to be as prepared as possible before going before a judge. Here are some steps to take along your timeline to ensure that you are ready when the big day arrives!
As soon as you can following your arrest (either that day or the next) you will want to find legal representation. Shop around if you need to, but make sure you have the right fit for you; you have to trust that your lawyer will do right by you, so you’ll want someone that you feel comfortable with and confident in their abilities. Comply with any information they need, and supply any witnesses or supplemental evidence to aid in your defense.
A Few Days Out
For the majority of the time before your hearing, you will just need to work closely with your lawyer to build your case and be as prepared on that front as you can be. As your trial draws nearer, there will be a couple of steps of your own that you can take to feel more comfortable the day of.
Find an appropriate outfit.
Whether you have something in your closet already, or you need to go shopping or borrow something, make sure that you have a court appropriate outfit. Think business professional, or at the very least, business casual; you want something that will give a positive impression to the judge and the jury. If you’re not sure how to define business casual or business formal, read this article to see what would be most appropriate.
Do something to curb your jitters
It’s absolutely normal to feel nervous before your trial. Try to soothe your frazzled nerves doing something you enjoy. Pamper yourself with a manicure or hair cut so that you feel put together going into the courtroom, or embrace a hobby. Take some time to decompress so that you can put your best foot forward when it counts the most.
The Day Before
The day before your hearing, it is very important to make sure that you are as ready as you can be for the next day. It’s time to turn your attention to the final details.
Confirm your hearing time.
Sometimes things happen, and hearing dates or times change. Call the courthouse the day before your trial to confirm that there have been no changes to the schedule for the following day that will affect your hearing.
Follow up with your lawyer.
Get in touch with your legal representative one last time to make sure that they have everything they need for the next day. Alert them to any changes that you may have discovered when calling the courthouse, and ask any last-minute questions that you may have going into the hearing.
Make sure everything is ready to go.
This is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to prepare for your hearing. Make sure that all of the finer details have been worked out: make sure you have your transportation arranged for the next day, make sure your clothes are clean and iron them if needed, and get your accessories together so that there are no surprises the next morning. Be sure your purse, wallet, keys, and anything else you may need are all together in one spot on the counter or by the door where you can find them easily. If applicable, check in with any moral support or witnesses to make sure that they are aware of the hearing time.
The Big Day
The day of your hearing has arrived, and it’s time to make the best impression you can possibly make on the people who matter: the judge and the jury.
Focus on your appearance.
The morning of your hearing, make sure that your appearance is the best that it can be. Take a shower, shave, brush your teeth. Make sure that your hair and nails are clean and tidy. If applicable, be sure that your makeup is neat and appropriate for a court; no bold colors, nothing dramatic. This ties in with the business professionalism of your chosen clothing; subtle and clean are the way to go.
Practice proper courtroom etiquette.
Make sure that you arrive at the courthouse early. There’s always a chance your case will be called before your time slot, and you don’t want to be tardy; it also gives you and your lawyer time to debrief one more time before the hearing happens. Once the case is opened, remember to be polite and respectful at all times. Listen carefully to all that is said, and don’t interrupt others while they are speaking. You will have your turn to address the issues. Keep your emotions in check, and be prepared for any verdict the judge may deliver.
A Final Word
As overwhelming as your court hearing may seem, remember that the repercussions that come if you skip out on your bail will only make the situation worse. Remain cool, calm, and collected, and you may find that you get the best possible outcome. Follow the steps for preparation above, and you will do just fine!