Dealing with legal issues is never easy for anyone, but being Deaf or hearing-impaired adds a few unique challenges to your upcoming court case. During your trial, it is important to understand everything that is happening around you, yet it may not always be possible for people to communicate with you if they do not speak sign language or understand your alternative communication methods. While you can expect a few issues to arise along the way, you can use these strategies to effectively handle your trial and obtain the best possible outcome.
Write Down What Happened During Your Arrest
Many things can happen during an arrest that can impact the outcome of a criminal trial. For instance, it is possible that the arresting officer did not realize that you were Deaf or hearing-impaired. This could have caused them to think that you were being uncooperative, or they may have possibly thought that you were under the influence of a substance. Make sure to get the help of a reputable legal firm, such as Wilder Law Firm. Write down each detail that you can remember and gather information about any witnesses that might have additional insight regarding what happened at the arrest scene.
Work with a Deaf-Friendly Attorney
Your odds of having a properly held trial go up when you work with an attorney that is familiar with the challenges faced in the court system by people with hearing loss. A good attorney can check over the details of your arrest to find out if anything was handled improperly. A Deaf-friendly attorney will also take the extra time and effort that it might take to ensure that you understand what is happening at each point during your trial. Whether you prefer sign language, written notes or using speech technology, they’ll make sure that your preferences for communication are respected.
Understand the Potential Consequences of a Conviction
Going to trial is stressful, and it is common for people to make mistakes when they are under extreme stress. Trying to represent yourself is never a good idea, especially when you have specific challenges for your trial already in place. Your attorney can help you understand things such as the best way to plea to potentially avoid the worst consequences for the charges.
Request Accommodations as Needed
In some cases, the justice system must provide reasonable accommodations in the courtroom. This is another area that your attorney can help you address. For instance, you may be able to have a sign language interpreter assist during the trial. Keep in mind that any interpreter that you choose must have a strong understanding of legal terminology to be effective. Other accommodations, such as speech to text applications, may also be available at your request.
Good communication is the key to a successful trial, and you need to have an attorney by your side that is familiar with the challenges that your hearing impairment brings for receiving a fair trial. While there may be a few challenging moments, you do have the ability to be proactive about how your hearing impairment is addressed in the courtroom so that you understand everything that happens.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan.