You need to get there early because you have to talk to the other side. Even if you HATE that scum - talk to see if you can settle. The Judge will ask you if you've done that. If not, you will get sent out into the hallway, and have to wait to have your case called again, which may take hours.
2. Dress appropriately
While you might not think it's important - what you wear and how you act is important. The minute you step into the Courtroom you are being judged by strangers who can help you or hassle you. So don't dress like you're going to a night club. Don't wear gangsta clothes. The proper dress is "business casual". That's like when you are going for a big job interview. No shorts, no flip flops. Ladies, no stomach showing. Guys, if you need to borrow your little brother's clothes so they look like they fit, do it. No hats, no shades.
Why? Part of the legal process includes judging which side is telling the truth. If you dress with an eye toward being respectful to the Court and the judicial system, it's in your favor. After all, you're there to win, right?
3. Have your papers organized
The Plaintiff goes first to tell their side of things. Part of telling your story is showing the Judge papers/pictures that support what you are saying. Don't interrupt the other side. Then the Defendant tells their side of the story. This is when you should comment on whatever the Plaintiff told the Judge that was wrong. Don't get crazy and call them a liar even if they are.
You'll be nervous when the Judge asks you questions. Listen carefully, and answer the question. Don't blurt out whatever is on your mind. Answer the Judge's question.
You should know exactly what each piece of paper says and how it connects to your story. Point out why the papers that the other side wants to Judge to believe are not correct - they don't say what the other side claims they do.
4. Don't have an attitude
Once inside the Courtroom, you'll see the Bailiff, in a brown/beige uniform. That could be a Marshall, or usually a Sherriff. Their job is to keep everything orderly so the Judge can hear all the cases that are on the Calendar. You need to be seated. On one the side of the Judge's bench is the Courtroom Clerk. That's the person who takes care of all of the paperwork and information. You can not go over to the Clerk without the permission of the Bailiff.
Interrupting the Judge is "having an attitude". The Judge asks questions because they need to clarify a point of law. Don't argue with the other side. This is not your front porch. Talk to the Judge, they make all the decisions, you'll never win the agrument with the other side, that's why you're in Court!
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