Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the impression you leave on a judge can have a strong influence on the outcome of your case, for judges often have a great deal of discretion in making judgments about the validity of charges, the stipulations of penalties, etc.
As one Fort Lauderdale man recently learned, yelling and cursing at a judge can also lead you to be found in contempt of court, for which you can serve jail time. According to the Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale man Christopher Colon was appearing before a Broward judge via videolink after being arrested on a domestic violence charge. When the judge decided to block his release from jail, Colon went on an extended rant that included cursing at the judge twenty times.
In his inappropraite tirade, the 27-year-old man used the “f” word eight times, and then proceeded to tell the judge to perform a sex act on him, demonstrating exactly what not to do when you are in front of a judge. As a result, Colon was found in contempt of court and sentenced to 364 days in jail.
According to the article listed above, the judge had decided not to release Colon from jail because he had allegedly violated two restraining orders that barred him from being within a certain proximity of his ex-girlfriend. Colon, on the other hand, was under the impression that he would be leaving jail, and was none too pleased to hear of the judge’s decision. Because of his impulsive reaction to the unsettling news, he landed himself in even more trouble than he was in to begin with.
Apparently, he will have the next 364 days in jail to think about his actions and how he might handle the situation better the next time he finds himself before a judge.
Because our lawyers have decades of experience appearing before judges as both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, we know the rules to remember when brought before a judge. As such, we ensure that our clients always act in a polite, reserved manner, as to not bother the judge and increase the potential penalties the client might be facing.
An understanding of what not to do in a courtroom can be obtained by learning what is appropriate to do in front of a judge. Below, we’ve outlined some tips on how to handle yourself if you are called before a judge.
1. Make sure that you arrive on time for your hearing. Appearing late can result lead you to be held in contempt of court, but jus as importantly, it can give the judge the impression that you don’t care about the judicial process. This would reflect poorly on your decision making and might make the judge less inclined to believe that you are the upstanding citizen you claim to be.
2. Speak only when spoken to. If the judge did not ask for a statement from you, do not offer it. If the judge does ask for your input, you should stand, address him or her as “your honor,” and when you are done answering the judge’s question, you should thank the judge for listening. When you are speaking, use polite, appropriate language.
3. Maintain eye contact with the judge whenever he or she is speaking to you. Like #1, if the judge finds that your attention is elsewhere while he or she is taking the time to address you, they will think that you are not invested in the judicial process.
These are just a few of the many things to remember when going to court. If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).