ASSERT YOUR RIGHT TO SPEAK WITH A LAWYER
Whenever Police contact you to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation, its always best to assert your right to speak with an Attorney before making any statements. During every phase of the criminal process, you are entitled to have an Attorney present because your liberty is at stake.
DON'T BE LATE FOR COURT
If you've been charged with a crime, its imperative that you never be late for Court. Court starts at 9am, so to prevent being late you must allow for traffic jams, long lines to get into the Criminal Justice Complex, and parking.
FOLLOW THE ADVICE OF YOUR ATTORNEY
If you've retained an Attorney to handle your case, do not call around to other Attorneys asking what they recommend or what advice they could give in your case. Because you've retained an Attorney, no other Attorney can advise you on your case. Your case and the details of your defense should be kept confidential and remain only between you and your Attorney.
FASHION ADVICE WHEN GOING TO COURT
Men should not wear baggy pants to Court and should keep the waistband of their pants around their waist. Women should not wear low cut blouses or short skirts to Court. For men, using a belt would be an excellent idea as there have been people jailed for exposing their underwear and body parts in court. Some Judges have been known to send people back home to change clothes, or make them wait outside the court room until the end of the docket when they arrive dressed inappropriately. Most Courts have their dress code posted at the Court's entrance.
NEVER TESTIFY AT A PRELIMINARY HEARING
The purpose of a Preliminary Hearing is for the State to prove that there was probable cause to arrest you for the crime(s) that you are charged with. The burden is on the State to prove their case not for you to defend the allegations against you. Reasons why you should never testify at your Preliminary Hearing:
a) Your statements will be recorded and can be used to possibly
impeach you at Trial on a later date.
b) The State could learn of your defense in the case.
c) The State can cross examine you and possibly trip you up in your testimony.
d) Because the burden of proof at Preliminary Hearings is so low, your testimony will make no
difference in whether the Court finds probable cause.
ADVICE DURING A TRIAL/HEARING
1) During a Preliminary Hearing there should be no facial expressions when witnesses are testifying.
2) If you decide to testify, be prepared to answer the Prosecutor and likely the Judge's questions.
3) Be polite and respectful when answering questions.
4) Don't talk when witnesses are testifying allow your Attorney to remain focused on the testimony.
Caveat: This Blog is for information purposes only. Please contact an Attorney for information regarding your particular situation.
For a Free Consultation, please contact Tawanda Williams Law Office, PLLC at 901-206-8200.