Being faced with criminal charges is a scary ordeal, and the sentencing trial has a huge impact on how things play out long-term. Your sentencing has really high stakes since it can determine whether or not you go to jail and how long your jail term will be. While your sentencing is not up to you, there are things you can do to make the best possible impression and possibly influence the judge to be more lenient. Here are four ways to make a good impression at your sentencing:
Dressing nicely for court shows the judge that you're taking your situation seriously and have respect for yourself. A good rule of thumb is to dress like you are going to an important job interview. It's best to dress more conservatively instead of in a showy or flashy manner.
If you don't have the right kind of clothes for court, see if you can borrow something from a friend or family member. Some counties even have court clothing donation programs.
Use Your Manners
Being polite can go a long way toward impressing the judge, without costing you anything. Simply saying please and thank you and not talking over the judge is a great start. Avoid rolling your eyes or muttering under your breath, even if you're understandably frustrated. Be early or on time to your sentencing and pay attention to the proceedings instead of looking at your phone or having side conversations.
Practice What You're Going to Say
If you will be given the chance to speak, follow the advice of your attorney and prepare a statement together ahead of time. It should be sincere, and allow you an opportunity to take responsibility and apologize for your actions. Do not make excuses or blame others for your misconduct.
You will probably feel more calm and confident the more you practice what you are going to say to the judge. Practice until you are able to read your statement without stumbling over your words.
Let Your Attorney Guide You
The most important way to make a good impression on the judge is to hire a professional criminal defense attorney, such as Russ Jones Attorney At Law, and truly follow their suggestions and guidance. Remember, this is hopefully the only time you will experience a criminal court case, but your attorney has been through many and knows what works and what doesn't.
By following these tips, you can help make the best of a bad situation and let the sentencing judge see you in the best possible light.