Court can be challenging, frightening and highly emotional. Couple that with the stress of having to testify before a judge, and you’re likely to feel heightened anxiety. That’s perfectly natural—it’s OK to feel that way. Just remember that having a good attorney at your side will be for the best—your lawyer will support you, defend you and fight for you. Here are some things to remember as you prepare for your trial.
Meet with your attorney
Well before your trial date, schedule with your attorney to review documents and other evidence and to walk through your strategy for the hearing. Your attorney will tell you everything you will need for the court date, including the items you’ll be responsible for bringing.
Show up on time to your trial, wear nice clothes (avoid jeans, shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops and anything that’s torn or in disrepair) and show courtesy to the people you interact with. Putting your best foot forward will help ensure that the judge doesn’t put automatic marks against you.
This cannot be overstated. When you get on the stand, you will take an oath to tell the truth; lying is perjury and a serious courtroom offense.
During the hearing, the opposing counsel might say some things that make you angry. Don’t explode and don’t argue. Demonstrating a short fuse will not support your case with the judge.
Think about the questions you’re asked
Be sure you understand each question before you answer it. Sometimes opposing counsel might try to rattle you with multiple-part questions or questions that wrongfully state (or understate) facts. Although it might be easy to answer only one part of a question or to get involved in back-and-forth about facts, try to avoid that. Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney to restate the question.
Take your time—pause before you answer any question, and then address it in a way that’s simple and to the point. Don’t volunteer any information not requested, and don’t answer in use absolute terms (such as “always” or “never”). If you don’t remember something, don’t fabricate an answer; say that you don’t remember. Don’t guess—if you don’t know the answer to a question, say that. And if you’re asked a question that you don’t like, still answer truthfully—it’s better to own up to a mistake or a failure than to evade the question and look like you’re trying to hide something.
Show up as you. In the court, to best state your case, you can’t be a character actor. You need to be yourself. If you find that emotions are overwhelming you, it’s OK to cry. And if you need some time to compose yourself, ask for it. You’re a human, and showing your human side is good.
Remember, you are not alone
Throughout the entire process—before, during and after your hearing—remember that your attorney is there to support and guide you as well as to protect you from opposing counsel and help you navigate the ins and outs of the Colorado judicial process. Listen to your attorney’s advice, and be sure to ask questions if you don’t fully understand any portion of the process.
If you’re looking for an attorney to represent you, please reach out to us at (303) 688-0944.