Court procedure will depend on the nature of the charges and the type of court hearing it is. Generally, things will move very quickly and you will speak very little during the hearing. This is solely for your own benefit and protection because anything you can say can and will be used against you by the State Attorney’s Office. Everything that occurs in a criminal courtroom is recorded either by an audio recorder or a court reported. Unfortunately, many people attempt to explain their case to the judge and openly confess before the Assistant State Attorney that is trying to put them in jail or prison. This is literally one of the most frustrating situations for a Clearwater criminal lawyer to have to witness.
First and foremost, we will generally receive some sort of plea bargain offer from the State Attorney’s Office. It is solely your decision as to whether you accept a deal from the State Attorney’s Office. In the overwhelming majority of cases, you will have the opportunity to discuss the plea offer at length with your criminal lawyer.
Secondly, if you choose to enter a plea to a criminal charge, you will be required to either plea “guilty” or “no contest.” Generally, defense attorneys prefer “no contest” pleas for their client. Additionally, if you choose to enter a plea, the judge will ask you a number of questions regarding your decision to enter a plea. You will likely be annoyed and embarrassed by some of the questions, since some concerning whether you have consumed drugs or alcohol and your immigration status. It is important to mention though that the judge is required to ask everyone the same questions.
Lastly, court will move extremely quickly and there will be a lot of people in your same situation in the courtroom. It is very important you appear early prior to your hearing and dress professionally. Unfortunately, we have had the terrible experience of witnessing someone wear a shirt regarding drug or alcohol use in a courtroom and the outcome was not favorable for the individual.
If you or someone you know is going to court for the first time, contact the criminal law firm of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation.