| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

A courtroom is one of those unique places where the customs of the outside world do not always apply. In a courtroom, electronic devices should not be consulted except in cases of emergency and a proper dress code is strongly implied. In addition, you also must only speak when spoken to by a judge, bailiff or other administrative professional, except in the rarest of circumstances. When speaking to a criminal law judge, please keep in mind that every word you utter could impact the outcome of your criminal defense.

You should not begin a criminal proceeding of any kind by telling the judge that you will represent yourself. Whether you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney or decide to allow the court to appoint an advocate for you, it is important that you seek professional counsel in regards to your case. The consequences of your criminal case could be life-altering. You almost certainly need an experienced criminal defense advocate by your side.

You should also not tell a judge that have you committed any element of the charges against you unless instructed to do so by your attorney. Should you choose to plead guilty, you will enter that plea formally. Saying anything about your case or the charges against you before consulting your attorney is not a good idea.

Finally, please avoid swearing and lying. The first offense may inspire the judge to hold you in contempt. The second offense may result in a host of negative consequences, including additional criminal charges. Please, be respectful and calm. If something is amiss, your attorney should be well-versed in how to handle the situation so that you do not have to.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, “5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Criminal Judge,” Brett Snider, Jan. 21, 2014

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Andrew Moses

Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange and Osceola Counties. During his time as an Assistant State Attorney, Andrew handled all types of cases ranging from misdemeanors to such serious felonies as drug trafficking and armed robbery. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases.

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