Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an attorney?
The law allows you to represent yourself as an individual in court. However, the laws and rules that govern courts can be complicated. Only an attorney can advise you of your legal rights, provide legal advice, and act on your behalf.
If you choose to proceed without an attorney, court officials and court clerks cannot give you legal advice or advise you on how to prepare your legal documents. You will need to do your own research in order to prepare your case.
Can you refer me to an attorney?
The prosecuter's office cannot recommend an attorney to you.
Do I have to appear in court?
If you receive a Subpoena or a “Rule To Show Cause” to appear in court, then you must appear in Court.
In all cases it is in your best interest to go to your trial or hearing. If you do not appear, you may lose your case because you are not there. You cannot appeal if you lose your case because you did not show up.
What do I say in court?
When you appear in Court, listen carefully to the judge and ask the judge’s permission before you speak. You must stand when speaking to the judge, unless you are physically unable. When you speak to the judge, start by saying "Your Honor." Always speak directly to the judge, and speak loudly and clearly.
Remember that only one person can speak at a time. Avoid arguing or interrupting another person. Control your emotions as much as possible.
What do I wear to court?
You do not need to buy new clothing for court, but dress respectfully. Don’t wear shorts, short skirts, flip flops, low-cuts tops, sleeveless shirts, or shirts with inappropriate words or images on them. Dress neatly.
How long will the prosecution take?
All cases vary in how long it takes to dispose of them, but most cases will last a few months to a year. However, there may be times when a case will last longer.
Will the defendant by present?
Yes. The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution gives the accused the right to personally be present for all court proceedings.
Can I give a deposition for my statement in court?
No. The law states that you must be present to testify in criminal court.
What if someone threatens or tries to intimidate me into dropping charges?
Such a person may be guilty of a felony offense. Call the law enforcement agency that investigated the case originally or contact the deputy prosecuting who is handling the case. Call as soon as possible, so the threats are documented and action is taken to prevent a reoccurrence.
I am a defendant in a criminal case; can I speak to the Prosecutor directly?
If you have retained an attorney or had one appointed for you, we cannot speak with you directly as this is prohibited by the Rules of Professional Responsibility. If you are representing yourself, remember that anything you say may and can be used against you in Court.
What if a defense attorney contacts me about the case?
Defense attorneys or investigators seeking to discuss the case with you may contact you. While you are free to speak about the case with anyone you chose, you are not required to do so. If you decide to discuss the case with the defense attorney, we would like to have someone from our staff present during the interview. You are not required to discuss the case with a representative of the defense and may decline to do so. If you wish, you may simply refer the defense attorney to our office for any information he/she wants and decline to discuss the case.