Facing a criminal charge can be a daunting and life-changing prospect. The legal system follows a complicated procedure beginning with arrest, followed by court hearings, and finally culminating in a trial. While the Constitution guarantees the assistance of an attorney during this challenging time, a wise defendant also ensures that they are individually prepared for each and every step of the process. The following 3 simple tips on how to get ready for a court hearing or trial will aid a defendant in ensuring the best possible outcome of their case.
Keep Track of Court Dates
It is highly important that a defendant keep track of all upcoming court dates, of which there will be several prior to trial. While most competent defense attorneys will make every effort to remind their client of when they need to be in court, it is ultimately the responsibility of the defendant themselves to be present. Failure to appear in court almost always results in a warrant being issued for a defendant’s arrest and the raising or revocation of bail. This means that a defendant could be held in jail for weeks or months awaiting trial.
Consult with Defense Attorney
A defendant must be prepared for each step of the legal process. This can be as simple as knowing what paperwork or documentation the court wants to be brought to the next hearing or assisting your attorney in identifying and subpoenaing witnesses on your behalf. An attorney cannot do this all on their own. A defense will only be as strong as the effort which a defendant wishes to put forth.
Stay Out of Trouble
Almost invariably, conditions for a ROR (Release On Recognizance with no bond) or bail will stipulate that a defendant acquire no new charges while on release. Additionally, certain cases may impose other requirements such as GPS tracking, home detention, or alcohol and drug testing. A defendant must completely adhere to each of these mandates or risk arrest and jail while awaiting trial.
As each and every jurisdiction operates in a slightly different manner, defendants must consult with their attorney to decide how each tip applies to their own unique situation. The prospect of facing a criminal charge is intimidating enough without adding to it the stress of being unprepared. By following these three simple tips, a defendant can greatly add to their likelihood of success in the courtroom.