4 Things to Know Before You Go to Court
We post a lot about the specifics of different crimes both in state and federal court, potential defenses available and other nuanced criminal defense issues. There’s some more basic information, however, that you should be aware of before you enter the courtroom. Consider these 5 things regardless of which court you are in and what potential criminal charges you are facing.
1. Dress appropriately. Many courtrooms have specific dress codes – no bathing suits, no hats, not baggy pants – but regardless of their specific dress code, or lack thereof, ensure you are dressed appropriately. You want to present yourself well to the judge and your appearance is your chance to make a good first impression. If possible, wear a suit. If that’s not possible, wear the nicest outfit you have and make sure it fits appropriately.
2. Only speak when asked to do so. When you’re waiting in the courtroom for your case to be called, sit quietly. It may be tempting to talk with your family but it’s best to stay quiet and avoid drawing attention to yourself. If you do need to have a conversation, consider stepping out of the courtroom to do so but be sure you don’t miss your case being called. Additionally, when you are in front of the judge, don’t speak out of turn. There will be times your attorney will be asked to speak and may be times that you are asked to speak. Interrupting or speaking out of turn will not help you or your case.
3. Be on time. This may seem minor but it’s not. If you are late and you miss your case, you could face serious consequences. A judge could potentially issue an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court. Leave plenty of extra time to get to court on time. If you are running late, call your attorney and the clerk’s office to let them know. You could still miss your case being called and face serious consequences but doing this could help.
4. Be polite. Be polite to everyone you encounter, the court staff, the bailiffs and the judge. We know you are not thrilled to be in court but being impolite can only hurt you, not help you.
If you’re facing a criminal charge, call us for a consultation. We will walk you through the process, listen to your concerns and priorities and do our best to obtain a positive result.