All court appearances are important. You only have one chance to make a good impression and you want to prevail. Some of these tips you may or may not already thought of, some are just common sense.
Watch video first and take note of the detailed recap below the video.
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When you have an appearance in court, both you and your attorney must be prepared. Lack of preparation itself will not only dismay the judge, but can certainly give the opposition the upper hand, even before any evidence is presented. If you have a jury involved, the jury will also take notice of this negative trait that will work against you. (You can never be overly prepared!)
BE ON TIME (LEAVE EARLY IN CASE OF UNEXPECTED DELAYS!)
Obviously most people will plan on being early for such an event. Unexpected delays may occur, this way they will still get to their court appearance on time. Most people are nervous before their court appearance and when people are rushed or late, they appear disorganized and flustered. These mannerisms are easy to pick up by others and why not eliminate the stress? Especially if you can easily avoid such a thing by simply leaving early. Tardiness can come across disrespectful and inconsiderate by others involved and that you may not take the legal situation you are in very seriously.
Avoid using slang when speaking in court. For example, appropriately answer "Yes" instead of "Ya" when answering a question. Be sure to address the judge formally, such as 'Your honor'. Refer to the bailiff as 'baillif' and do not call him/ her by his/her name on the name tag they are wearing.
Dressing well and being well groomed is also sign of respect. Some judges don't care and some do. Why risk it?
BE POLITE & RESPECTFUL
It is always important to be polite and respectful the moment you get onto the courthouse property. This even includes the parking lot. You never know who will be involved in your court appearance and what position they may have with your legal outcome. The moment you walk into the courthouse you will have to go through a metal detector and the person posted there is a police officer. If you are rude to them, this will get quickly conveyed to the courtroom staff, including the judge. Be polite and respectful to the judge, bailiff and the entire courtroom staff. Avoid any harsh behavior. It is very important to contain any anger or argumentative behavior, even after a verdict (if it is not what you were expecting). Basically, be polite to everyone.
BE TRUTHFUL TO YOUR ATTORNEY
Many people want to make a good impression to their attorney and may not give all of the details (all details are important). Tell your attorney everything. The good and the bad so they can prevent pitfalls and legal snaffoos for you and protect you for the most desirable outcome. Remember, attorneys have client-attorney confidentiality.
HAVE AN ATTORNEY
Being found guilty can be more costly than you may think. If it is a speeding ticket, your auto insurance premiums go up for years. If it is a misdemeanor, it may be accessible on the internet for everyone can see and tarnish your reputation. If it is a felony, getting employment or renting an apartment may become very difficult and appeals can be very costly with no guarantee of winning.
*Attorneys know their way through the state and federal laws and have built relationships with the judges.
- Follow these tips and your outcome will be more desirable!
Watch 'Tips for Going to Court' video for extra details that are listed on this page
DISCLAIMER: This entire website should be strictly used as informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advise or as a legal consultation since each individual case is unique. Check this website periodically for updates.
You are not prepared if you are not organized. The two elements are reliant of one another and imperative in any court appearance!
"To be prepared is half the victory."
-Miguel de Cervantes