How To Prepare For A Trial: A Step-By-Step Guide

Going to court the first time can be confusing. Often, attorneys are nervous. Getting organized is the best way to prepare for a trial. The following steps help you prepare adequately for your trial and ensures that your case has a higher chance of tilting in your favor. Preparation determines everything. Lack of preparation leads to a poor presentation which results in a loss at trial.

Get Legal Advice

It’s hard to represent yourself at trial. Your lack of experience and legal knowledge is a huge hindrance. It’s good to get a competent and experienced attorney for your trial. Arrange to get the legal expert as soon as possible. 

Gather Evidence

Before the trial, you must have sufficient evidence necessary to prepare your case for trial. It’s the evidence that will help you defend your case. You can use all kinds of evidence at trial including photos, in-car videos, diagrams, and CCTV footage. Give yourself time to look at the videos and get the photos.

If you intend to use electronic evidence such as sound recordings, videos, it’s better you contact the court soonest before the trial starts to ensure they have the equipment ready on that trial day.

Ask for Adjournment (If Necessary)

Sometimes you may need to request the court for an adjournment. Maybe your witness is unwell or is not able to appear for the trial for a good reason. The trial judge or magistrate will only agree if there is a compelling reason.

You can get some hints from the expert lawyers of vatrials on what to say when asking for an adjournment. If it is permitted, the court will make a cost order against you. However, it’s hard to get an adjournment on the trial day. Therefore, file an application to vacate the trial date the moment you realize you need an adjournment. 

Visit the Courtroom

Pay a visit to the courtroom to know the practical issues. Some courtrooms use the latest technology and others have none. Visiting the courthouse enables you to know how to use the technology there and even address any practical problems.

Arrange Subpoenas

You may want to get some evidence that is crucial to your trial. You may also want to ask the prosecutor some questions. In some cases, issuing subpoenas is necessary. This allows you to get the relevant documents and testimonies you need for your trial. The person will be ordered by the court to attend court and give crucial evidence on the matter at hand. 

Plan What You Need for The Trial or Take to Court

You need the following things for your trail to take to court with you:

  • Any CCTV, photos or video footage you may have relating to the case
  • Copies of the policy incident reports, if there is any
  • Your witnesses
  • Other relevant documents or evidence to support your version of events
  • Notes for communicating with the trial judge or magistrate
  • Pen and notebook for making notes
  • Post-it notes or highlighters from marking important information

You can also take character references in case you are found guilty and the judge or magistrate needs to decide whether to fine you and the appropriate fine amount. 

Always take the original documents and three copies of the documents you intend on showing the court. The original document is kept by the court and you are required to give a copy to the prosecutor as you keep one for yourself. The other one is a spare for yourself. 

Plan What You Intend to Say During Trial

At the trial, the intention of the prosecutor is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They don’t have to prove that you intended on committing that offense but prove that you did it which is called strict liability. Some offenses require photographic evidence and other documentary evidence to prove guilt.

For instance, if there is a speed camera photo, a photo showing a parking offense, a certificate issued by the arresting police that shows your blood alcohol reading is higher than the legal limit.

In order to defend you from this case, you have to show other evidence that raises reasonable doubt regarding the prosecutor’s case. Before going to court, write down the main points you intend on explaining to the court.

For instance, the circumstances leading to the incident, mention documents, witnesses, photos, and other evidence to support your claim. This can include the section of the presented prosecution case you disagree with and your reasons. 

You need to speak confidently in the courtroom. Call the courthouse to find out about the trial date and time.

Preparing for trial requests good organization, and confidence. Have all the relevant documents and evidence you need for your trial beforehand. Make prior arrangements with the court if you intend to play videos or CCTV footage to back your case. Write the important things you need for the hearing to ensure that your presentation flows and is convincing.