If you have never been to court for a criminal offence, you can easily get into more trouble through inappropriate behaviour. Whether you actually committed the crime or not, there is standard behaviour that you need to exhibit in court for the sake of the proceedings and self-dignity. Ideally, your criminal lawyer should brief you on how to carry yourself around in the courtroom, although this may not be possible at all times. A short time frame for the hearing, workload on the part of the lawyer and an urgent need for a ruling can make this briefing difficult or inadequate. If you are charged with a criminal offence and are attending court for the first time, here's a comprehensive look at how you should behave:
Don't Interrupt Your Lawyer
Avoid talking to your lawyer and interrupting them amidst the proceedings. Let him or her listen to the witness called in to testify in the case without interfering. This will help your lawyer to focus and pick out clues from the witnesses' tone, mannerisms and body language. If you have information about the witness and haven't disclosed it to your lawyer, write it down and slide it over to your lawyer. Avoid calling your lawyer over to tell them stuff.
Addressing the Court
During proceedings, you may be asked to address the court. If the judge poses a question to you, address them with respect using references like your honour, my lord and my lady among others. To add on that, answer the question posed directly and as briefly as you can. This will help you avoid unnecessary excuses and raising issues that are not within the scope of the question you have been asked. Stay composed even if that means taking momentary pauses when you are speaking. Criminal proceedings can be emotionally demanding and taking a moment to think through want you are about to say will help you maintain your poise.
As much as the proceedings may be emotionally challenging, use polite language when addressing the judge, lawyers or witnesses. Don't be abusive or use words with negative social implications toward race and/or ethnicity.
Arrive on Time
Arrive for the court session in time. A few minutes before the session would be ideal so that you can have a chat with your lawyer if necessary. Arriving late could have adverse consequences such as a fine or a change in the date of the hearing, delaying the proceedings.