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If you are going to trial for the offense that you are charged with, there will be a scheduled meeting in a court room first, where both the criminal defense team and the prosecuting team interview a pool of summoned potential jurors to sit for the trial. This event is called the “voir dire” and the term translates from the French verbs of “To See, To Speak.”

In the legal application, the lawyers get to see who is there and view what potential jurors look like. The attorneys also hear potential jurors respond to questions posed to them by both sides. This is part of the process where the right of the defendant to be judged by a jury of his/her peers, is being set up.

You must present yourself in as professional a manner as you can, which includes wearing a dark suit, if possible, or a professional office dress

Before Attending Your Trial

            You and your criminal defense attorney should have a consultation about what will happen in the courtroom, how you should dress and act during the trial, and what you should say if you will be questioned by both your attorney and the prosecutor. You must tell the truth once you take the oath before taking the stand for questioning. You will also be cautioned about making impromptu outbursts which can anger a judge. How you behave during your trial is very important.

During the Trial       

            Always show respect to the judge and to the opposing lawyer. This is more about behavior, attitude, and appearance which can affect the opinions of the members of the jury as well as the judge. Image is everything, and observers can make an opinion about you in the first few minutes after you enter the courtroom. You must present yourself in as professional a manner as you can, which includes wearing a dark suit, if possible, or a professional office dress that is modestly styled, preferably in a dark color.

As the trial starts, both sides may give an opening statement. Then the trial officially begins with the question-and-answer session, with both sides calling any witnesses or people relevant to the case. Evidence on both side will be formally entered as documentation for the trial.

During questioning of witnesses, you, as the defendant, may feel that one witness may be lying and, rather than making a scene, quietly let your attorney know of it. Your attorney can tell you beforehand exactly how to handle this, without disrupting the trial proceedings. This may give your lawyer a chance to recall an earlier witness and ask a certain question a different way.

            Should you be called up to the stand for questioning, keep as calm as you can while answering questions from the prosecutor. Try not to get flustered. Take a breath before answering, if you need it. Never yell at the prosecutor or the judge.

California’s Code of Civil Procedure § 128

            Code of Civil Procedure § 128 covers the conduct of all in a court of law which, among other things, is to ensure that a defendant receives a fair trial without undue interference from other parties. The judge has sole control over the courtroom and what happens in it, at any given time. When the judge issues an order, it should be followed or fines can be levied.

            If you will be going to trial and need an experienced criminal defense lawyer, call us at once. (619) 234-2300

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

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