What is the Purpose of the First Court Appearance?
Your first appearance is not a trial. It is an opportunity for your defense attorney to meet with the crown counsel to take care of administrative matters. This is called a pre-trial. In particular, it is time to seek disclosure or to review the disclosure. If your lawyer requests that you be there, you do not need to wear a suit and tie but dress appropriately, as though you are going to an interview. In court, impressions matter.
You May Not be Required to Attend
Since this is an administrative hearing, ask your lawyer if you must attend or if he can attend for you. If you haven’t hired a lawyer, retain one before your hearing date. He or she can get your case off to the right start by attending your first court appearance and getting all the administrative matters completed properly.
What if You Don’t Have a Lawyer?
A criminal charge is a serious matter. If you talk to the wrong person, such as the Duty Crown when you thought you were talking to the Duty Counsel, it may hurt your case. A lawyer knows what is needed to get the best deal for his client. A defendant who is not familiar with criminal court proceedings can easily miss an opportunity to get a favorable outcome. Furthermore, the judge or magistrate will ask you why you have not retained a lawyer, so be sure you have a good and valid reason to give.
Know the Role and Title of the Person You Are Speaking To
If you do attend your first court appearance, know exactly who will be presiding. It may not be a judge. It might be a magistrate or another court official. Ask your lawyer how you should address this person. When your turn arrives, speak clearly, answering only the questions asked. Since this is not the trial, you will not be allowed to get into the details of your case.
No cell phones, newspapers or food are allowed in the room. Remain quiet until your name is called. Understand that there may be many issues on the docket and the wait may be long. People who have a lawyer are called first, so be sure to retain one as soon as possible after you are charged with a crime.
What To Do Next
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, call the Julian Van Der Wall Law Corporation, anytime at 250-320-9258. The list of past wins is a proof for their reputation and clients representation in a well-prepared and experienced manner. If possible, don’t wait until the day before your hearing to call. It takes time to prepare properly to represent a client who has been charged with a criminal offense so be sure to contact us as soon as possible.