Whether it’s fair or not can be debated, but a judge only has a small window of time to make a judgment about a defendant with a limited amount of information. For this reason, anything a defendant can do to make a good impression during this time can play a huge factor in how the hearing and possibly sentencing goes. To help you put your best foot forward when walking into court, here are some things to keep in mind.
As with any other circumstances in life, first impressions matter and when someone walks into court dressed too informally or even too fashionably it can send a message to the judge and others that the hearing is not being taken seriously. When going to a hearing it is best to aim for more somber colors like gray and black and essentially dress in a way that you would if you were going to a formal job interview. This is also not the time to show off designer pieces with logos because it might make the impression that you are more focused on the fashion than the case at hand.
Look attentive and solemn during the hearing
Seeming respectful and attentive is not only imperative to show the judge that you are taking things seriously but it is also necessary in terms of avoiding any other potential charges that can come with disruption. A judge and any potential jury will want to see that the defendant is being reflective upon the situation and that they are not acting out in a carefree or defensive manner. If a defendant gives off a feeling of insincerity it can come across as they either do not care that they did something wrong or they are hiding something and if there are any issues with outbursts, a judge can hold the defendant in contempt which means being taken to jail again with the potential of charges being added on.
Use the time out of jail wisely
Probably the most important of all factors will be how the defendant uses their time while waiting for arraignment. One of the first things a judge will look at is if the defendant has maintained or obtained employment and if they had been working diligently with their pre-trial officer to follow any and all bond conditions. In addition to this, things such as volunteering or working on community-based passion projects can also give a huge boost to the way a judge and jury may look at the actions of a defendant. In some cases, actions like these can even lead to more community service-based activities in lieu of jail time or longer sentencing.
To conclude, the main thing to take away is that respect should be what all decisions are based around. From having respect for the judge and courtroom members to having respect for yourself by using the time out of jail wisely, actions that are focused on respect show that the defendant is mature, reflective, and deserving of another chance.