Let’s say that for some reason the police arrested you. They brought you to jail, fingerprinted you and informed you of the charges against you. They then checked the bail schedule and told you how much it would cost to gain your release (the bail amount) pending your day in court. You then contacted a bail bond agent who posted your bond and you went home shortly thereafter.
Great. The system worked as intended and you are free to resume your life while you wait for your court date. The most important thing now is to spend at least some of your time preparing for that day in court so you arrive ready to put forward a vigorous defense. Below, we’ll go over some things you ought to be doing to prepare for your appearance before a judge.
Once the bonding company has secured your release the temptation may be to think that the worst is over. That will only be the case, however, if you wind up being acquitted of the charges against you when you appear in court. Therefore, it’s essential that you put the days and weeks prior to your court appearance to good use and that you arrive fully prepared. Here are some tips for doing that.
Whether you hired a lawyer with your own money or you’re working with a public defender it’s important to stay in touch with them and do what they say. They can clarify the charges for you, let you know what to expect once you get to court and inform you of your options including the possibility of a plea deal the prosecution might offer at your arraignment.
When you are assigned a court date you will be given documentation that lays out the requirements for your appearance. It’s important to double and triple-check these requirements. The court may request that you present specific documents related to your case or that you present certain materials or witnesses to back up your claim of innocence.
You can show up in a dirty T-shirt and ripped jeans if you want, but all that pointless bit of rebellion will do is indicate to the court that you do not respect the proceedings. Depending on how you dress you may even be cited for contempt. Why bother? Just take a little time to pick out some conservative clothes that don’t cast you in a bad light. That means a suit if you have one. And if not, some business-type pants, a dress shirt and a blazer will do nicely.
Whether guilty or innocent it is in your best interest to always act like an adult while in court. That means sitting quietly, letting your attorney do their job and only speaking when spoken to. If you believe you are innocent let your attorney make your case for you. If you are there to admit your guilt do so in an appropriately humble way. If you have a chance, state that you’re aware you made a mistake and that if you could take it back you would. Apologize to all concerned for the trouble you’ve caused and ask for leniency. Also, don’t lash out at witnesses who say negative things about you, even if you believe they are lying. And if things are said during the court proceedings that you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
While it doesn’t happen in every court proceeding there’s always a chance you may have to interact directly with the judge. If that happens it’s imperative you address the judge in the correct way so as not to antagonize them and reduce your chances of a favorable outcome. Keep the following tips in mind:
If put on the stand and asked questions, answer them truthfully. Conversely, if you believe what you have to say may incriminate you invoke your 5th amendment rights and keep your mouth closed. A word to the wise about the right to remain silent: if you plan to invoke your 5th amendment rights make sure you tell your lawyer first. The last thing you want is to catch your lawyer off guard in a way that undermines the defense strategy they had planned.
The bail bond company can’t help you when you get to court. It will be up to you to arrive prepared, to dress appropriately and to act like an adult during the proceedings. And don’t forget, if you decide court is not for you your bail will be forfeited, and if the bonding company put up a bond for you they’ll soon come to collect for the full amount. So do the right thing and show up.
If you or someone you know needs affordable bail bonds give Tayler Made a call at (303) 623-0399. No matter the time or day we’re here to help with 24-hour bail bonds.