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Protect yourself by behaving properly in court

When you go to court on a criminal charge, there are some things you need to know about how to act. If you don't have a good understanding of what to do -- and what not to do -- you could hurt your case without even saying a word.

Your criminal defense attorney will help you learn more about how your actions can affect you when you attend court. Here are a few tips, however, to get you started.

Always strive to be polite.

When in court, your best bet is to be polite. You want to give off a great first impression (and continue to give a good impression for the rest of your time before the judge). The last thing you want to do is to interrupt the judge, the prosecutor or others. Interruptions make you look like you're impatient, angry or childish.

Remember your boundaries.

It should go without saying, but don't flirt with or otherwise engage the judge or jurors. It's important to be respectful, so when you speak to the judge, refer to him or her as "Your Honor," "sir," or "ma'am." You should not speak to the jury at any point.

Don't let your temper show.

It is always wise to avoid sarcasm because you want to appear likable to the judge and jury. If you keep making jokes or being sarcastic, the judge will not think that you're taking the case seriously or are aggressive.

Avoid entering into arguments at all times. You never want to argue with a judge, the prosecution or witnesses. Even if something is a bald-faced lie, stay quiet and let your attorney handle it. You need to show that you are emotionally balanced, so you have the best chance of winning your case.

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