General Court Questions
When your court day arrives, make sure you’re prepared. Below is information and tips that detail everything from when you should arrive to the courthouse to what you should where to court to what the possible outcomes for you case are.
Will Carolyn be with me in court?
Carolyn will be in court for all court appearances, with the infrequent exception of routine court appearances where the only thing occurring is the scheduling of another court date. In this case, she may send one of her associates. In the unlikely event of an emergency situation, she may have to send an associate to court, but this is usually only to obtain another court date. Unless a discussion with you determines otherwise, Carolyn will be the only lawyer to handle the important aspects of your case.
How early do I need to be to court?
Unless told otherwise, show up at the time on your notice. Typically, nothing happens right at the designated time, so there is generally plenty of time to talk before your case is called.
Will I have to speak in court?
It depends on what kind of a hearing is scheduled. If you will need to prepare what to say prior to the court appearance, Carolyn will advise you with sufficient time to do so.
How long will court take?
Again, this depends on the type of appearance. Unless you are set for trial, plan to take half a day off for the appearance.
What should I wear to court?
Dress neat and clean. Wear a suit if you are used to wearing one, or slacks and a nice dress shirt (for men) or a dress or skirt (for women). Do not dress too flashy or provocatively. Never wear clothes with slogans on them.
What should I do when I get to court?
Unless instructed otherwise, wait outside the courtroom until your lawyer arrives.
What are possible resolutions to my case?
Trial - if you are charged with a petty-misdemeanor, your case will be decided by a judge. This is called a court trial. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or gross-misdemeanor, you may have either a jury of 6 peers or a court trial. If you are charged with a felony, you may have either a jury of 12 peers or a court trial. For more information on trials, go to our “Court Questions” page.
Dismissal - all charges dismissed;
Plea negotiation- the charges against you are either reduced, changed to something else, or the sentence is agreed upon based on one of the following:
CWOP or CFD - Continued without prosecution or continued for dismissal. Your case is set aside and prosecution does not go forward for an agreed upon period of time. If certain conditions are met by the end of the time period, the case is dismissed;
Stay of Imposition - The court does not impose the full sentence but puts you on probation with certain terms. At the end of the probation, if all conditions are met, the conviction may be determined to be a lower level than charged, or (if negotiated) the case is vacated and dismissed;
Stay of Adjudication - A plea of guilty is imposed, but the court does not accept it. If all conditions are met at the end of the probation period, the case is dismissed;
Stay of Execution - This is when a sentence is imposed, but some or all terms are stayed (not given), and the defendant is placed on probation. The execution of the sentence will be stayed conditioned upon terms that are up to the court;
Diversion program - Certain crimes or defendants are eligible for a program that takes the defendant out of the court system and into a program designed to rehabilitate the first time offender. If all conditions are met the case is dismissed when the defendant successfully completes the program.
Carolyn Agin Schmidt has spent more than two decades as a criminal lawyer in Minnesota. She represents clients throughout the Twin Cities seven-county metro area and around the state. For a free initial consultation, fill out a consultation request form or call 763-591-0552 for more information or to make an appointment.