June 23, 2017
A Florida criminal trial is oftentimes a complicated and lengthy process. However, contrary to what most people believe, there’s much more to a criminal trial than witness testimony that is presented on the witness stand. Other factors, such as the defendant’s conduct and body language on and off the stand, play a large role in how a criminal defendant is perceived by jury members.
If you have decided to take your criminal case to trial, an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you prepare for and make a good impression at trial.
Trial Starts Long Before the First Witness Testifies
A significant percentage of what you communicate is nonverbal. As a result, it is important to keep in mind that from the moment jurors (and prospective jurors) set foot in the courtroom, they are watching you, the criminal defendant. When jury members watch you, they are not just listening to the contents of your testimony while on the witness stand. They are also paying close attention to your non-verbal language (i.e. body language) before, during, and after your testimony, as well as your facial expressions and gestures.
You should keep the following suggestions in mind on trial day:
- Before the trial begins, assume that every person you meet – including those you meet in the lobby or on the elevator – are potential jurors. Therefore, it is important to keep your comments in check and to treat everyone you meet with courtesy.
- Do not make gestures or react to testimony by other witnesses while seated or while on the witness stand. For example, do not shake your head or become visibly upset if an opposing witness says something on the witness stand that you do not agree with.
- Do not smile or laugh before testifying, while testifying, or after testifying. Rather, you should remain as straight-faced as possible.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Criminal trials can be complicated, and it is important to present yourself as favorably as possible to jury members. Our criminal defense attorneys have the legal knowledge and experience to help you to thoroughly prepare for trial.