If you have been charged with a criminal offense, chances are you will be attending a hearing and a trial set in a courtroom. There is a certain decorum that comes with being in a courtroom, and you should aim to be on your best behavior during the proceedings. Failing to do so could land you in a lot more trouble than what you are currently being accused of. Refraining from certain bad behavior seems obvious, such as arguing with the judge or taunting witnesses. However, keep in mind that one of the biggest offenses in the courtroom is speaking out of turn. As a general rule, you should never say anything while in the courtroom except under certain circumstances. The following are some examples of when you are allowed to speak at court:

When You Enter A Plea

When it is time to enter your plea, you will be allowed to speak. You will only need to say either the words "guilty" or "not guilty." Before the plea hearing, you will have already worked out your plea with your attorney, so you will know going in what you are going to say. Do not say anything else unless you want to be charged with contempt of court.

During Testimony

If you plan to testify, you will have to speak to the court. You will have to answer questions posed to you from both attorneys. When asked questions, provide short, concise, honest answers. Do not overly elaborate unless asked to do so. Do not speak without a question being asked or make a general statement unless asked for one. Not following these guidelines could result in you saying something that could inadvertently implicate you and sway the minds of the jury.

Statement To Victim

If you are found guilty, there will be one more opportunity for you to talk. During the sentencing phase you will have the opportunity to make a statement to the victim or the family members of the victim. A statement should be prepared, with the assistance of your attorney, so that you can read straight from the paper. This will provide you with the possibly to apologize, explain the reasoning for the crime, or express remorse.

Your ultimate goal during court proceedings is to stay as quiet as possible. Follow all advice given to you by your defense attorney so that you will know exactly how to behave in front of a judge and jury. Good behavior will benefit you more than outrageous or raucous behavior.