When you go to court, you can help your case by following a few simple guidelines. Mr. Silver can further discuss these guidelines with you when you meet. Contact our office for a free phone consultation.
1. Bring family members or friends for support
For significant court appearances, having family or friends along for support can make a big difference. Judges and officials are often impressed to see that a community has come to support someone who is accused. A courtroom full of people on YOUR side is always a good thing. However, for less important court appearances, such as those for scheduling, it is not necessary to bring family members or friends along. Mr. Silver can advise you on these details, and help you to figure out which appearances are critical enough to necessitate community support.
2. Dress appropriately
First impressions are very important. Just like you want to have a good showing of family and friends with you, you want to show the judges and court staff that you are friendly and professional. You should ALWAYS dress nicely when going to court, although formal-wear (such as a suit) is only necessary for your actual trial. For other appearances, men should wear nice pants (not jeans) and a collared or button-up shirt. Women should wear business-casual or business apparel with relatively high necklines (no deep V’s!), no short skirts, and nice shoes. If what you’re wearing could more easily be seen in a bar or club than at your grandma’s birthday dinner, choose a different outfit. Remember, for your actual trial, wear a suit.
3. Cell phones, children, and pockets
Make sure that your cell phone is on vibrate or silent — or better yet, turn it off! Bring something to read; you’ll probably have to wait to be seen. Try to anticipate what you might need during the day. Remember that you’ll have to go through a metal detector. Be careful when packing your purse, bag, briefcase, or even pockets in the morning. You can bring your children with you if you need to, but know that you may be asked to leave if your children are disruptive. Many courts have free childcare. Talk to your children before you go about how they will be expected to behave.
4. Don’t discuss your case in public
Although it may seem like a fine idea to discuss your case in the hallway or bathroom of the courthouse, DO NOT discuss your case in any public setting! Always be aware of what you say or do; you never know who is around. You should always be on your very best behavior in the courthouse. The person standing innocuously near you in the hallway may be your prosecuting attorney. If you accidentally give information to someone who shouldn’t have it, it may delay or invalidate your proceedings.
5. Arrive early
Always arrive EARLY! This is not the time to be running late, or even worried about running late. Better to get there 30 minutes early or more. If you arrive at a high traffic time, between 8:30-9am or 1-1:30pm, except long lines and long waits.
6. CCTV is everywhere
Remember that courthouses have security cameras everywhere, and that you are always being watched. Behave accordingly. There are often cameras on the outside of courthouses looking for people hiding things that they don’t want to bring in.
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