First of all, you need to make sure you have done everything that your attorney has advised you to do. This should go without saying. Assuming that you have done that here is what you need to know about the actual court hearing.
Preparing to go to court is not something many people are familiar with doing. It is common to feel anxious, nervous, or even scared about making your appearance before the judge. As common as these fears may be, most people are embarrassed to ask their attorneys these questions, and some attorneys do not voluntarily supply this information. Fear no more, however, because are some helpful tips on how to put your best foot forward in the courtroom.
The night before
- Do not go out and drink a lot the night before. The smell of alcohol is likely to linger with you in the morning, and you don’t know how close you may be to the judge or opposing counsel.
- Pick out what you are going to wear now. Make sure it does not need to be ironed or cleaned. Make sure it fits appropriately.
- Get a good night’s rest. You don’t want to be tired and stressed out when you arrive at the courthouse.
What to Wear: People of all different backgrounds, resources, jobs, and socioeconomic statuses go to court. Not everyone will dress the same, but everyone should dress to impress. What this means for each person will be different. A good rule-of-thumb is to wear what you would wear to church or a school graduation. If you have a pressed shirt, trousers, and a tie, wear that. If you have jeans with a hole in them, a hand-me-down-polo, and sneakers, wear that if that is the nicest thing you have. This also means, ladies, make sure your skirt is not too short and your top is not too low-cut. While we like to dress nicely to go to the club, the courtroom is not the time to wear the strapless black dress and stilettos, as nice as they may be. If that is the nicest thing you own, you would be better to wear something less formal and more conservative. The point is that it should be apparent that you take pride in yourself, whatever form that takes.
The day of
- If possible, shower.
- Brush or comb your hair.
- Be ON TIME. Unless your attorney tells you otherwise, plan on getting to the courthouse 15 minutes before your scheduled time. This way, in case you are running late, get lost, or can’t find the courtroom, you still have plenty of time to get where to need to be by the time you need to be there.
- If you must run late for some unforeseen reason then make sure you call your attorney to let him/her know. Do not just show up late without telling anyone.
When you get there
- Find your attorney and let him/her know you are there.
- Have a seat in the courtroom.
- When you hear your case called, unless your attorney has instructed you otherwise, stand up and walk up to the front with your attorney.
- Do not stand with your hands in your pockets when you talk to the judge. Simply place your hands at your sides.
- Refer to the judge as “Judge” or “Your Honor.”
- Answer by saying “yes” or “no” instead of just nodding your head. Never say “yeah” or “uh-huh” to the court. Be respectful.
- When the judge has completed your case, wait for your attorney outside the courtroom to come and talk with you before you leave. Often, attorneys have more than one case in front of the judge on the day of your court date. This means that your attorney may need to stay in the courtroom even after your case is done. Before you leave, make sure you check out with your attorney in case there is any information your attorney needs to tell you before you leave.
- Write down your next court date and time or the next meeting with your attorney.
- Do whatever else your attorney tells you that you need to do before your next court date.
Please feel free to contact us at Lee|Coats Law by phone at 918-782-0000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions before heading to court!