Once you’re out on bail, you’ll be expected to show up in court. If you don’t go, the person who bailed you out could lose their collateral, whether that’s their house, jewelry, or a car.
Going to court can be stressful. Being prepared can make the experience easier and less frightening. Here’s what you need to know as you get ready for your upcoming court date.
1. Read the Paperwork
Getting arrested and being released comes with a lot of paperwork. Read every paper that you sign and every document that is sent to you in the mail. Start a file to ensure that you’re able to find every paper in one spot.
Many of the documents may be in confusing legal language. You should have a court-appointed attorney if you can’t afford to pay one privately. Save these documents for your attorney, and ask your attorney to interpret them. Use notes and sheets of paper to write down your questions so you’ll remember to ask them when the time comes.
2. Meet With Your Lawyer
Meet with your lawyer before your court date to talk about your case. You may need to meet with your lawyer several times if your case is complex. Your lawyer may take all your paperwork from you to use while they prepare.
The attorney may give you some coaching about what to expect when you go to court and what to expect on the days in between. Be ready to take notes and follow instructions from your attorney.
Your lawyer can help you present yourself in the best light on the court date. Take your lawyer’s advice, whether it’s about how to present yourself, what to wear, or how to answer questions.
3. Find Out the Time, Place, Parking, and Other Information
Know exactly where to go on your court date. If you can’t find this information on the paperwork you’ve received, contact your attorney. The week before your court date, drive to the location where your trial or hearing will take place.
Explore the parking situation. Many courthouses, including the Las Vegas Justice Court and a variety of other courthouses in Las Vegas, are located in the downtown district, where parking is difficult to obtain.
Make a note of the parking situation. If you’ll be required to pay a meter for parking, plan to bring coins or a debit card with you on the day of the event. If you must park in a parking garage, find one that is close to the courthouse. Doing this ahead of time will prevent you from driving around needlessly on the day of the trial or hearing.
4. Practice Your Statement
Whether you defend yourself or work with a lawyer, you may be called upon in the courthouse to say a few words about the experiences that lead up to your arrest. Practice your statement starting several days before your court date. Look at yourself in the mirror or videotape yourself to see how you appear to others.
Watch the video and ask yourself the following: Do you slouch? Are you mumbling? Are your answers understandable? What could you do differently to improve your presentation?
Your attorney will be able to tell you what kind of questions you can anticipate in the courtroom. Read this list of questions to yourself, and then spend time stating your answers out loud (not in your head), to ensure you know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Write down a few statements that you’ll be able to memorize to help you through some of the more difficult questions.
5. Get a Good Sleep the Night Before
Going to court can be stressful and even scary. This experience is even harder to manage when you’re tired. Get a good rest the night before your hearing or trial to ensure that you’re ready to answer questions and stay alert. Go to bed early to give yourself time to fall asleep. Set two alarms to ensure that you’ll get up on time.
6. Prepare Your Outfit
Get your outfit ready the week before your court date. Avoid wearing casual clothes, especially shorts and flip-flops. Office-casual clothes or the clothes you might wear to church are best for a court appearance. Avoid wearing hats. If you don’t have any clothes that match this description, now may be the time to run out and make a purchase, or borrow clothes from a friend.
When the case is over, the loved one who bailed you out should be able to get their collateral back from the bail bondsman. Find out from the bail bond company what they require in order to ensure that this happens.
At All Star Bail Bonds, we’re happy to answer all your questions and help you through the bail bond process. To find out more about your obligations as a person released on bail, call us today.