Today, we are talking about your first appearance in court, what takes place at your first appearance, what are you allowed to do and what should you look out for.
If you are charged with a criminal offence and you are asked to attend court, the court ultimately needs to decide whether you are guilty or innocent of the charge.
You will also need to decide whether to plead guilty and admit to the charge or to claim trial and contest the charge and to say that you didn’t commit the offence.
You need to decide which part to take and before you decide you can ask the court for more time.
For example, you can ask the court for more time to prepare your case to understand what the charges are and what the accusations are against you.
You can also ask for time to look for a lawyer or to get legal advice.
You can also ask for time to find money to engage the lawyer, whether it is to borrow from your relatives or to save up or to take a loan. The other thing that you can ask for time for is if you have decided to plead guilty and admit that you have committed the offence and all that remains is for to find the money to pay the fine then say so. Tell the judge that what I need is time to find the money to pay the amount of the fine.
Another thing you can ask for time for is to organise your explanations and then write a letter of appeal to the authorities asking them to reconsider their decision to take a certain course of action against you.
Tell the court what you need the time for and explain your reasons why and show them that you will use the time wisely. You do not need have to plead guilty or claim trial at the very first appearance in court. Some people misunderstand this, and they think that the first time I go to court means I have to decide today, I need to pay the fine today, I need to go to prison today. You don’t have to. You can ask for time to do any of the things that I mentioned earlier but it is important that you say it clearly and give your reasons why. The court is fair and will always listen to your request, but you must understand that you must use the time very wisely because the court cannot give you time beyond a certain limit.
So, in summary, the two key things to bear in mind are to tell the court why you need time at the first appearance in court if that is what you need. But the second point which is I feel the more important point is don’t feel pressured either because your relatives, or your friends or somebody in court has told you or you’ve heard rightly or wrongly that you need to plead guilty and pay the fine at the very first appearance in court. That’s simply not the case. If you need time for a very good reason to do certain things for the purpose of trying to explain to the authorities or to settle the case tell the judge and the judge will consider.
So that’s it for today don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and to follow us on Facebook for more updates and we will see you soon. Bye-bye!