When to Speak in Court – What Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney have to Say

If you are accused of a crime, you should know that you would be spending some time in the courtroom. While you may be well aware of ways in which you are to behave in courtroom through the movies and TV series, you should be on your best behaviour in front of the judge and the jury to ensure you are proved innocent.

One thing that you should know is when to speak and when not to. Your criminal defense lawyer will advise you to speak only when he or she tells you to. Mostly, there are only a few places where you will have to speak. Here are some of the instances –

  • Entering a Plea – When you are entering your plea, you and your criminal defense lawyer will discuss beforehand as to what you need to say. You just need to say either guilty or not guilty and nothing else. It is best not to say anything else to the judge or you might be at a risk of getting contempt of court charges added.

Entering Plea

  • Testifying – If you want to testify on your behalf, you will be questioned by the prosecution and the defense lawyers too. You will be required to make only short and to the point statement when asked about the events that led to your arrest. It is best to remain emotionless so that you do not incriminate yourself.
  • Speaking to the Judge – If you are proved guilty of the crime, you will be required to speak to the judge before the sentence is announced. It is best to prepare a statement with the help your lawyer beforehand so that you can ask for lighter sentence. You need to be respectful, peaceful and not angry at all when you speak to the judge. If you shout, the judge will likely remove you from the court and you will end up with a harsher sentence.

Speaking to the Judge

  • Speaking to the Victim or His or Her Family – If you have the opportunity to speak to the person who was a victim of your actions, you should prepare and take time to prepare your statement. It is best to seek apology for your actions and express remorse.

Your goal should be to ensure that you speak very little; you need to behave accordingly in the courtroom to be in the good books of the jury and the judge.