1) Be on Time for the Trial/ Hearing
For an important date like your court trial or hearing that can decide whether you’ll be found guilty or clear of charges, arriving late is a big no. Make sure that you arrive on time by confirming your court date and time in advance, leaving for the court with plenty of time in hand (depending on where you live) and using public transportation or a cab to avoid delays in finding a parking space. Many courthouses have long ques at the door, so keep that time bracket in mind as well to ensure your timely arrival.
2) Listen Carefully
Interrupting someone while speaking and not listening to court officials during the proceedings is a serious mistake. In a court, listening is more important than speaking. If you want to make a point while someone else is speaking, consult your criminal defence lawyer first, instead of standing at your place and shouting. Listen to what is happening inside the court, what are the technical words used by court personnel and understand how things work in real courts. It will not only help you properly file your papers but also show your seriousness towards your case.
3) Be Respectful
Being respectful in the court is your key to winning some brownie points for good behaviour. On the contrary, having a confrontational attitude and using harsh language are the signs of showing disrespect to the court. The best bet is to have the right attitude as soon as you step inside the court premises. Use polite language and a calm tone, address the judge ‘Your Honour’, stand whenever you address the court and speak softly but confidently. These rules of etiquette will not only enhance your credibility but also make a positive impression of yours that can significantly influence your case.
4) Dress Appropriately
Courtrooms are dignified places with a proper dress code for appearances. This is especially true if you’re the defendant as it reflects your seriousness towards your case. Dress as you would when going for an important job interview. For men, the proper courtroom attire includes long-sleeve collared shirt (tucked in) preferably with a tie, long pants with belt and conservative shoes with socks. Women should wear a dress, long pants or skirt (not more than two inches above the knee), a blouse, sweater or casual dress shirt with closed-toe shoes and less jewellery for a formal look.
5) Ensure Proper Conduct
Many defendants unknowingly show improper conduct in the courtroom that is considered as disrespectful behaviour by the court. You should make sure that your unintentional activities don’t jeopardize your case. Smoking, reading, talking, chewing gum, making distracting noises and listening to personal radio are some activities are considered as inappropriate conduct. Please sit properly in the court, turn off your cell phones and other electronic devices and speak only when you’re asked to.
Going to a court for your criminal offence charges can be stressful. But, following the above-listed tips can help you behave properly and reduce your stress level. Keep them in mind when appearing for your next hearing. To learn more about what should be done when in the courtroom, consult your criminal defence lawyer.