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Preparing for Trial: What do I need to do?

The Night Before Trial

Call 410-887-6650 after 4:30 p.m. and a recorded message will list changes in Criminal Circuit Court cases for the following day.

Postponements

Unfortunately, court hearings do not always take place as scheduled. If a case is postponed by written request prior to the scheduled trial date, every effort will be made to notify you in advance. Many times postponements are not requested by the defendant until the actual day of trial. If the defendant requests a postponement in court, and his/her request is granted, a new trial date will have to be set and you will have to appear again. Information on Circuit court docket changes and postponements are available online, or via phone at 410-887-6569.

What Should I Wear?

It is important to look your best in court. Dress conservatively, dignified and discreetly as a sign of respect for the judicial system. Wear something you would to church, work or a nice social function.

What to Wear:

  • Suit with tie
  • Sports coat
  • Long-sleeve button-down shirt with a collar and long pants
  • Wear a belt or suspenders to keep up your pants
  • A nice dress or woman's business suit
  • A conservative pants suit
  • Conservative top and long slacks

What not to wear:

  • Sleeveless or muscle shirt
  • Exercise Clothing
  • Nothing sexy or too dressy; tight tops; short skirts; sequins; slinky top; revealing tops, nothing you'd wear out on a Saturday night!
  • Sundress or strapless dress
  • Crop tops. Cover your belly button
  • Any top with spaghetti straps
  • T-shirts (especially ones with beer, drug or sexual references)
  • Athletic attire, especially baseball caps
  • Jeans, unless they are the only long pants you own
  • Clothing that is too small or too large
  • Clothing that reveals your underwear
  • Hats
  • Shorts or cut-offs

The Day of Trial

It is important that you arrive promptly before your trial. When you arrive, park in a Baltimore County Garage and bring your ticket to Room 329 of the County Courts Building for validation. Report to the Witness Reception Room (#329) by 9 a.m., and Victim/Witness personnel will direct you to the courtroom where your case will be heard. You will have an opportunity to speak to the Assistant State's Attorney assigned to your case at this time.

Note: If you have an oversized vehicle such as a van or pick-up truck, you may park at the lot marked "O" on the map. Bring your ticket to Room 329 of the County Courts Building for validation.

Your case may not take place as early as scheduled. Please be prepared to wait. Please note that cell phones of all types are prohibited in the District Court buildings. Camera phones are prohibited in the Circuit Court. In addition, weapons of any kind are prohibited in all court buildings. Please do not attempt to enter the courthouse with prohibited items.

Your Testimony

When your case is called, you may have to take the witness stand and testify if there is going to be a trial. You will be asked questions first by the Assistant State's Attorney and then "cross examined" by the defendant's attorney.

It is important to pay attention to each question and answer each one truthfully. If you do not know the answer to a question, or the question is confusing to you, say so. Answer each question politely and loud enough for the judge to hear you. Try to remain calm, even though it is natural to be nervous.

During cross-examination, you may feel that you have already answered the questions you are being asked. Try not to become upset, and answer each question to the best of your ability. If you hear an objection to a question, stop talking immediately. Wait until the judge lets you know if you should answer the question. 

What To Do While Awaiting Trial

If your address, home or work phone number changes, then call the State's Attorney's office as soon as possible.

District Court                   410-887-6630
Circuit Court cases          410-887-6610

Contact by the Defendant

If there is further unlawful contact by the defendant, call the police/911 first, then call the Family Violence Unit of the State's Attorney's Office at 410-887-6610. Be sure to also write down when, where, and what occurred. Get the name, address, and phone number of anyone who witnessed the defendant contacting you. Give this information to the Family Violence Investigator assigned to your case.

If the defendant makes unwanted phone calls to your home or work you should make a record of the contact by doing the following: 

            1.
Hang up the phone long enough to get a dial tone; 
            2. Pick up the phone and dial *57; 
            3. Hang up the phone and write down on a piece of paper the date and time of the call and what the defendant said to you.

*This service costs $0.75 per phone call. Please let the Assistant State's Attorney know if you have used *57 so that he or she may order the records from the phone company.

One Week Prior to Trial

One week prior to your trial, call the State's Attorney's Office to discuss your case with the Assistant State's Attorney handling your case. For District Court cases call 410-887-6630. For Circuit Court cases call 410-887-6610.

Make sure you save any messages the defendant leaves on your answering machine or answering service. Let the Assistant State's Attorney know that you have this evidence and bring it with you to court.

Let the State's Attorney's Office know if you have photos of any injuries caused by the defendant and bring them with you to court.


Revised November 9, 2009

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