Does the Average Person Have a General Understanding of What Court Is like?
Interviewer: Have you noticed when you’ve been there with clients, is there anything about the experience that surprises them?
To Help Lessen Anxiety, Your Attorney Should Explain the Process Beforehand
Mike Munoz: I think going to court in general for most clients is not an experience that they are looking forward to. Court can make people have high anxiety and it’s something that they worry about. What we try to do with our clients is we try to explain exactly what they are going to be experiencing so they have an idea in their mind before they walk in. That way it’s not a surprise.
We try to explain, “This is your court date coming up, I’m going to meet you there at this time, and I’m going to meet you in the lobby. We are going to go to the courtroom.” Then I explain to them exactly what we are going there for, what we’re planning on doing, what we are hoping to accomplish. Then I try to answer all my client’s questions the best that I can.
Some People Going to Court for the First Time Are Apprehensive about Whether or Not They Will Be Immediately Arrested
Interviewer: Is there anything you find that they ask you about the court that again makes them nervous that you have to explain to them, even if it’s obvious?
Mike Munoz: Yes, some people think when they go to court, they don’t understand the process so they automatically think that anything could happen because they are unfamiliar with it. They think, “Well maybe something will go wrong, maybe I’ll be taken into custody or go to jail today.” In most cases, that’s just not likely.
Most Initial Court Appearances Are Only for Discovery and Negotiation Purposes
Most court hearings you go to are for discovery purposes, scheduling, talking to the prosecutor negotiating. Most court hearings are really made to be working on the case. Not everything is going to happen that day. So we try to explain to the clients ahead of time what they are going to be experiencing.
If You Retain a Private Attorney for a Case in Tempe Municipal Court, Many Times He or She Can Appear on Your Behalf
The one nice thing about the Tempe Municipal Court is if you are represented by a private attorney, many times a private attorney can appear on your behalf without you having to go to all your court dates. That can really alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of going to court.
Interviewer: The Tempe Municipal tends to allow attorneys to appear so clients do not have to appear as often as other courts?
Mike Munoz: Yes, yes. It’s not guaranteed. It’s always advised that you get permission from the court. But at the Tempe Municipal Court, so long as you’ve retained private counsel and the counsel appears on your behalf, it’s customary that the attorney can appear on behalf of the client for some of the status hearings.
There are other hearings in the future that the client will have to appear at, but for normal status hearings the attorney can handle on their own so the client will not have to be there.
An Experienced Attorney Can Guide You through the Court Process and Provides Notice about Which Hearings It Is Necessary for You to Attend
Most misdemeanor courts are like that. An experienced lawyer who understands all the different court systems knows which courts they have to tell their client to show up with them or not.