Having an upcoming court hearing for your criminal case can be anxiety-producing. That’s understandable. Whether this is your first brush with the law or you have been previously accused of a violation, the justice process can be complex and challenging to follow. Various rules, procedures, and formalities exist concerning when to speak, what you should say, and how evidence can be presented.
Your court hearing can also cause anxiety because it’s one step closer to the resolution of your case, and the outcome is unknown. A conviction is possible, which could lead to criminal penalties. The punishments imposed can impact your future and relationships.
As a criminal defense attorney with over 40 years of experience, I, Jonathan Blecher, have handled more than 5,000 cases. I have seen the struggles my clients have faced as their court date gets closer. And while I recognize that feeling some amount of fear when walking into an unfamiliar situation is normal, I also understand that too much anxiety can be mentally and physically taxing, making it harder for individuals to receive and process information and perform effectively.
Therefore, I am providing ways to help reduce anxiety before your court date. The information contained here might not extinguish your fears altogether. Still, I hope it offers some relief as your hearing draws near.
To speak with me about your Miami case, please call (305) 321-3237 or submit an online contact form.
Stay in Contact with Your Lawyer
One of the ways to reduce anxiety before your court date is by maintaining consistent communication with your criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer is there to help you. Be sure to direct your questions or concerns to them.
People involved in criminal cases often turn to friends, family members, or the internet for guidance. But going this route can produce more anxiety or lead to incorrect or incomplete information. Regardless of how well-intentioned the advice you receive from others is, remember that it is not specific to your case.
A friend or family member might have gone through a similar process, but the facts of their situation are likely entirely different from those of yours. Therefore, what they tell you might not apply to you. Similarly, the information you find online is general and not tailored for your unique circumstances.
By staying in contact with your lawyer, you can get updates on how your specific case is progressing. You’ll also get individualized answers about what’s going to happen next and your options.
Communication with your lawyer is a two-way street. Just as they will keep you up-to-date, you must also inform them of any details that come up that might affect your case.
Keeping in contact with your attorney can also help build your professional relationship and trust. You will feel more comfortable posing queries. Your lawyer will have confidence knowing that you are taking their counsel seriously.
To ensure that you and your lawyer understand what communication will look like throughout your case, establish contact methods at the outset.
Be Aware of Any Future Court Appearances
Showing up for all scheduled hearings is extremely important. Missing a court date can have serious consequences. You can be charged with failure to appear, leading to additional penalties. Make sure you know when you are required to show up to court. If you have a legitimate reason you can’t make the date, ask the court to reschedule.
The last couple of years has changed the way court proceedings are handled. Some hearings may take place in person, while others may occur through online platforms, such as Zoom. Make sure you know whether your hearing will be conducted live or online.
On the day of your scheduled court appearance, check the calendar to know what courtroom you need to be in. If the hearing is being held online, log into Zoom at least 15 minutes before the case starts and have your meeting ID number (and passcode, if necessary) ready.
Know How to Use Online Platforms
Conducting business through online platforms is relatively new. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom’s interface and controls, practice with the program before your court date.
Some of the things you’ll want to know how to do include:
- Turning your video on and off
- Fixing audio issues
- Ensuring you can hear through speakers or headphones
- Removing custom backgrounds or filters
- Taking yourself off mute
- Making sure you are identified by your first and last name (remove any nicknames)
You will also want to be sure that you have adequate lighting and that there will be no distractions for the duration of your hearing.
Be Prepared for Your Hearing
Being prepared for your hearing can help not only reduce anxiety but also facilitate a smooth process.
Whether you are required to appear in person or online, you can get ready for court by:
- Reading the court documents you received
- Researching your charge and relevant legal issues
- Having necessary paperwork on hand
- Arriving on time (it’s a good idea to show up earlier and allow yourself time for unforeseen circumstances)
If your hearing is taking place live, know the courtroom rules. For instance, dress neatly, don’t bring food or drinks, and turn off your electronic devices. Also, only speak when it’s your turn and do not talk over the judge.
For a hearing held over Zoom, download the program and create an account a day or so before your case.
Visit Other Zoom Hearings
If you want to better familiarize yourself with the court process, you can attend proceedings for other criminal cases through Zoom. Many court hearings are public.
Through the Florida Supreme Court’s Virtual Courtroom Directory, you may be able to watch livestreams of:
- First appearances
- Pre-trial hearings
- Criminal trials
- Probation violation hearings
- Oral arguments
Ask a Lawyer What to Expect
This point can’t be stressed enough: Your lawyer should serve as your defender and guide throughout your case. If you have a question about your court date, reach out to your attorney for help.
An experienced attorney has likely handled cases like yours and knows how the system works. However, the path a previous matter took will not be the same as yours. Yet, the information will give you an idea of what to expect.
Your lawyer can also go over the possible outcomes of your case. They can let you know what options are available to fight the charge to seek to have it dropped or reduced.
You Are Not Alone
As your criminal case proceeds, you’ll begin to see all the moving pieces involved. More exposure to the process can be overwhelming. But you do not have to navigate the system on your own. Your defense attorney can be by your side throughout.
I walk beside my clients at every stage of their cases. Knowing that this can be a stressful experience, I make myself available to them. I respond promptly to questions and concerns, providing well-informed answers tailored for each unique case.
For dedicated defense in Miami, contact me at (305) 321-3237 today.