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Making a Good Impression in Criminal Court

If you are facing criminal charges in North Carolina, it is important not to just sit back and hope for the best. Even a misdemeanor crime can have serious long-term consequences. Regardless of your perceived severity of the charges against you, it is critical that you take a proactive role in fighting them. The best way to do this is to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been charged. This will allow your lawyer to help you review the facts and circumstances of your case, develop a strong legal defense, and advise you how best to move forward. However, not all the work rests on your lawyer. You can take a proactive role in your defense by learning how to make a good impression in court.


What to Say and Not Say in Criminal Court


Ultimately, what you do or do not say can have a positive or negative impact on the outcome of your hearing. It is best to give yourself every possible advantage by showing up committed to presenting the best version of yourself at each moment that you have the opportunity to be in front of the judge. Let these tips guide you in making a good first impression, but be sure to consult with a criminal defense lawyer if you have any specific questions.


  • Do not lie but also do not confess. You have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself in front of a judge. This is known as your fifth amendment right. You are never forced to give an answer under testimony that would incriminate you. Rather, in that situation, you can plead the fifth. It is better to do this than to spontaneously confess. It is also a better alternative to lying, which can result in further criminal charges and will wreck your credibility if exposed under cross examination or at any point in the hearing.

  • Do not make excuses. Making excuses, such as claiming no one told you when to show up at court, or that you did not know something was illegal, or–even worse–blaming your behavior on alcohol consumption or an illegal substance, do not instill confidence that you will not repeat these same behaviors again. Instead, stating that you understand what you did wrong and ensuring that it will not happen again is far more effective at convincing the judge that you can be released back into the public.

  • Keep your emotions in check. In criminal court you are trying to convince a judge, and sometimes a jury, that you are not a danger to yourself and others, and that you can be trusted to act like a reasonable, law-abiding citizen when out in the real world. Nothing can call that into question faster than a drastic and negative shift in mood. If you rapidly lose your temper, or switch and show a different side of yourself when you become emotional, it becomes a question in the mind of the judge and jury whether you can be trusted to act reasonably and keep your temper in check once you are no longer in the courtroom.


Schedule a Consultation with Coastal South Law


If you are facing criminal charges in North Carolina, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you present the best possible defense and secure a positive outcome in your case. Contact Coastal South Law today to schedule a consultation today.

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