WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN GOING TO COURT – GETTING READY FOR YOUR DAY IN COURT
This guide discusses what to expect when you go to court.
AFTER WALKING THROUGH THE COURTHOUSE DOORSo Everyone who enters the courthouse is subject to a walk-through metal detector and/or hand held scanning device. The security screening process creates long lines of people waiting to enter the courthouse during peak hours.
o Have items that may set off the alarm ready to place in the tray or on the x-ray machine when you enter the building. This will expedite your entry into the Courthouse.
o If you have a pacemaker, tell the security officer about it before you enter the metal detector.
o Cell phones are not permitted to be taken into the courthouse.
o Leave all weapons of any kind and sharp edged objects in your vehicle or at home. The security staff will not hold unauthorized items for return.
DO'S AND DON'TS WHEN GOING TO COURTDo's
o Leave children with a babysitter.
o Get there early. There are many things that could delay you on the day that you go to court.
o Do exercise self-control, no matter what is said in the court room.
o Do be respectful to the other side whenever you meet them.
o Do speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard by the Judge and opposing side.
o Do ask the questioner to repeat or clarify any questions you do not understand.
o Do direct your answers to the person who asked the question. Make eye contact with them.
o Do not chew gum.
o Do not argue with the opposing party or his/her attorney.
o Do not interrupt.
o Do not react to the answers of witnesses or to the questions from the opposing attorney to indicate your displeasure.
o If you are questioned by the other side, do not argue with the questioner.
o If cell phones are allowed in court, make sure that you cell phone is turned off. Many judges will take cell phones from those that ring, buzz, or make sounds during hearings or trials.
WHILE YOU ARE WAITING IN THE BACK OF THE COURTROOMo Do appear to be paying attention. It is helpful to actually listen and learn about the process (and the Judge) before your case.
o Do try to appear pleasant and interested in the proceedings.
o Do be polite to the courtroom staff- the clerk, bailiff, and others. They work with the Judge and will report behavior.
o Do not read the newspaper, listen to your iPod, work on your laptop, use your cell phone, or talk to other people while waiting.
o Do not make faces or roll your eyes or otherwise show negative reactions to something happening in the court.
WHEN SPEAKING TO THE JUDGEo Do refer to him/her as "Your Honor" and speak with respect.
o Do not act angry or short-tempered with the Judge, even if you are upset by your case.
o Do not roll your eyes or act negatively towards anything that the Judge says or does.
HOW TO DRESS FOR COURT - WHAT TO WEARo Formal dress is not required in the courtroom but males should wear a collared shirt and slacks. Females should avoid low necklines, bare midriffs, and short skirts. Short pants should not be worn in court.
o Do not wear t-shirts with messages, tank tops, jeans, sheer clothing, tight clothing, over-sized clothing, shorts, or flip flops.
o If you are dressed inappropriately, you may not be allowed into the courtroom.