You have received a summons from the criminal court and now have to attend a court hearing for the first time as the defendant(s)? Now you ask yourself: What may and what do I have to take to the hearing?? What do I have to say? Do I have to say anything at all in court? What to wear?
For you, a court hearing may be a new and unsettling experience. For criminal defense lawyers, judges and public prosecutors, going to criminal court is part of everyday life. You can therefore ask your lawyer all the questions that concern you. However, I want to answer some basic questions already in this blog post.
Where do I need to be and when?
Where and when the main hearing takes place, you will find out through the summons from the court. The summons always states on which day, at what time, in which court and in which room the court case will take place. It is best to take this summons with you to the appointment. [Read more about the summons in this blog entry]
I personally like to meet my clients a few minutes before the actual hearing. This gives you the opportunity to ask final questions.
Be in court – even if you don't meet with your lawyer beforehand – at least 30 minutes before the main hearing. Similar to the airport, there are also entrance controls at the courts. You should allow sufficient time for this. Note for the entrance control that you are not allowed to take any weapons or dangerous objects with you. Prohibited items include: Glass bottles, knives, pepper spray or brass knuckles. But alcohol and drugs are also an absolute no-no.
It is essential to have with you your identity document (identity card or passport)!
What to wear?
You are not expected to wear a suit or costume to the court hearing. A neat external appearance, which means decent clothes and a friendly, polite demeanor, is still an advantage. You should therefore refrain from flip-flops, dirty jeans or a belly-free top.
What does a courtroom look like and where do I have to sit??
Unfortunately, not all courtrooms are created equal. In principle, however, the judge's table is at one end of the hall. At the opposite end is the area for spectators. The prosecution always sits on the window side. The defendant or defendants and his or her defense attorney sit across from either the prosecutor or the judge. Witnesses often sit in the middle of the hall.
Will there be spectators present at my trial?
In principle, all hearings are open to the public. Only hearings before the juvenile court are not public.
In the case of public main hearings, the following applies: Anyone who wants to may watch a criminal trial. But be reassured: very rarely do spectators actually attend a court hearing.
When do I have to say something or when am I allowed to say something??
First of all, you only have to give the court your personal details, i.e. your name, age and address. You are not obliged to have further details. Rather, you may remain silent throughout the criminal proceedings. It is your right! You are, of course, entitled to comment on the matter at hand.
This illustrates the importance of developing a negotiation strategy with a defense attorney prior to a main hearing. It is not possible to make a general statement as to whether it is better to speak out or to remain silent.
If you do not want to go the way to your (first) main hearing alone, I will be happy to assist you as a criminal defense lawyer.
This text does not claim to be complete or up to date, but only serves as a first orientation.
However, as a specialist lawyer for criminal law, I will be happy to advise you in detail and individually in a personal meeting. I also defend you against criminal charges.