‘Telling the Judge what you really think about their decision’; or, ‘Things that will not influence the Judge to do what you want”, usually end up with a ‘Contempt of Court’ conviction and sentence, even if you win the argument.

Having the ‘last word’ in an argument can make you feel ‘victorious’ even if you lose the argument. In many instances, arguments between co-workers, friends, siblings and others you come in contact with will be resolved with one or both being upset, but no real lasting impact on either of you. When you argue with the Judge hearing your case, especially after they issue a ruling, you are not likely to change their mind, and are likely to wish you had kept your opinion, your ‘last word’ or your ‘gesture’, to yourself.

In my experience as a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, one of the most important things you and your lawyer can do, is to decide on a case strategy. ‘How are we going to approach this defense, this particular legal argument, this particular hearing’. You also need to discuss the possible outcomes and what the options will be if the Judge rules in your favor, or against you. The goal should be to maximize the chances of getting the result that you want, or if that is not possible, to minimize the harm to the client. Knowing what to say, is as important as knowing when to stop arguing. Definitely, saying or doing something that is disrespectful to the Court, does nothing to help win and can end up with you being charged with contempt of Court, as well as you losing the argument.

The one and only focus, must be to put the best legal arguments on the record, as that is the basis on which the decision will be rendered by the Judge. It is also the basis upon which an appellate court will review the case if you lose and file an appeal. If the Court makes a mistake as to the law, or misstates the facts, or uses any improper basis to reach their conclusion, you have the right to file an appeal. In the N.J. Superior Court you must file the appeal within 45-days of the decision. In the Municipal Courts of New Jersey you must file the appeal within 20-days of the ruling. Your failure to meet those deadlines can result in you losing the right to file an appeal. You being held in contempt of Court and incarcerated does not extend the filing deadlines; and, everything that happened, including you being contemptuous of the lower court will be heard by the appellate court.

There is a saying that I apply to cases where I am representing a client charged with a crime or offense under the criminal code…’When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!’.


The information contained in this blog post is intended as marketing, not advertising, as is more fully stated in the Disclaimer Page of this blog site. This post is strictly intended for general informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute legal advice on any legal matter in N.J. or in any other jurisdiction.

No attorney-client relationship is intended, offered or established by this information, even if it is similar in nature to a situation you are facing. Should you be confronted with a criminal prosecution or investigation, you are strongly advised to consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State or jurisdiction where the charges are filed, with whom you will have an attorney-client relationship, and can obtain legal advice on how to best handle your issues. This direct consultation should be done before you make any decisions in regards to your legal issue.

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