Your notice letter says 9:00 AM. Thinking that nothing can possibly start that early, you saunter into the court room at 9:05, and find the judge already on the bench and hearing a case. If you're unlucky, he might have already called your case, found you absent, and moved on. Plan to be at the courthouse AT LEAST fifteen minutes before the hearing is supposed to start. "I couldn't find a parking space" will not be a good enough excuse if you keep the judge waiting.
Turn off that cell phone. No, really.
Once you're in the courthouse and you've found your attorney, there is no reason for cell phone to stay on. Really, there isn't. Don't just put it on vibrate and trust that that's good enough; a vibrating phone can be surprisingly loud in a quiet room, and will get the court's attention in a bad way. Plus, just because you think your phone is on silent doesn't mean you won't be surprised to hear a ding, bell, or beep in the middle of testimony. Many judges will confiscate your phone is they hear it at all while court is in session. Do you really want to risk losing your phone just to play a round of Angry Birds while you're waiting?
Cover it up
Certain things just don't need to be seen in a court room. Cleavage, thighs, and underwear are all on that list. So are tattoos, especially gang affiliated or prison tattoos. Wear long sleeves or a collar, but make sure that any tattoos are discretely out of sight. Wear long pants or a skirt below the knee--many courts will not allow someone wearing shorts or flip flops in. Tuck your shirt in and take off your hat. Leave the flashy brands at home, especially if you're about to tell a judge that you can't pay a fine or child support. And this should go without saying, but unfortunately doesn't--if you have false teeth, put them in before you enter the building.
Wait your turn
There are two sides to (almost) every court case, and sometimes there are more. Every side will have a chance to tell the judge want they want and to call their own witnesses. Chances are you aren't going to agree with everything that's being said; that's why you're in court. But sit quietly and keep your reactions to yourself--don't sign, roll your eyes, or do running commentary on what's being said. Outbursts like "That's not true!" or "You know I didn't say that!" won't win you any points. You'll get a chance to say what really happened, but trying to butt in on other witnesses won't do anything but annoy the judge.
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