TRIAL

 

Going to court can seem overwhelming. If your case goes to trial, try not to panic. You and your lawyer have prepared for this. You should have the evidence to prove your case. Here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable going to court. For more information or help, contact our office.

How To Act In Court

If your case goes to court, you must appear for the trial. Being in a courtroom can be very intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these guidelines to make a good impression on the judge.

Take a Deep Breath

You might feel nervous, especially if this is your first time in court. But, don’t feel too nervous. Take a deep breath and remember that people go to court every day. Some people – judges and lawyers – have dedicated their lives to being in the courtroom. You will be fine.

Act Professionally

The courtroom is a professional setting. As such, you should always act professionally when in court.

Be Polite and Respectful

Nothing looks worse in court than when someone is rude and impolite. It can also affect the outcome of your case. Appear polite and respectful to everyone you come into contact with at court. Whether talking to the judge, the other side’s lawyer, the jurors, witnesses, etc. don’t forget your manners. You should always act respectfully when in court.

Stay Still

Keep still when seated and when standing before a judge. Even if you’re nervous on the inside, staying still will give others the appearance that you feel calm.

Pay Attention

Stay focused on what happens in the courtroom. Even when you’re not getting questioned, you should pay attention. The situation was serious enough to go to court, so you should treat it as such.

Take Your Time

Make sure that you fully understand what is said to you or the questions asked of you. If you don’t hear or understand a question, ask for it to be repeated. Don’t just rush and give an answer you’re unsure of because of nerves. Remember that you are under oath and have an obligation of honesty.

Speak Slowly and Clearly

When speaking in court, do so slowly and clearly. Also, make sure that your answers are loud enough for the judge to hear. All of these things will make you appear confident, even if you aren’t.

Remember the Judge

When the judge enters the courtroom, you must stand up and wait until he or she tells you that you can sit. Always address the judge as “Your Honor” and stand when talking to him or her. If you are unsure or feel pressured when being questioned, look to the judge for help. It is his or her job to oversee the trial.

DON’T:

  • Be late. Being prompt shows respect for the justice system. Tardiness makes a terrible first impression.
  • Use your cell phone. Turn it off. Even better, don’t bring it into court. You won’t need it.
  • Chew gum. It’s a distraction to those trying to concentrate around you.
  • Talk to others. Do not discuss the case or talk while court is in session. It appears distracting and disrespectful.
  • Read, do personal work or listen to music. Court is neither the time nor place to do activities like this. You should focus and listen at all times.
  • Interrupt. Even if you are just itching to say something, wait until the appropriate time. You won’t get bonus points for cutting someone off and making your point first.
  • Make wisecracks. No one in the courtroom will appreciate any wise remarks.
  • Make faces or roll your eyes. These are just as rude as shouting things out. Keep your expression respectful at all times.
  • Make inappropriate noises. No comment needed.

Above All: Be Honest!

Most importantly, always speak honestly in the answers you give in court. You are under oath and have a duty to speak the truth. If you do lie in court, chances are you will get found out. You will also lose your credibility and that can really damage your case.

How To Dress In Court

To help you feel confident when you go to your trial, you should make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Making a good impression on the judge can be achieved by following these wardrobe tips.

Dress Conservatively

When appearing in court, you should always strive to dress appropriately and professionally. Do not wear bold, bright colors. Women should wear suits, basic dresses, or blouses and skirts. Shoes should cover your toes – no matter the season – and be low-heeled. Makeup should be neutral and jewelry/adornments should be kept to a minimum. Men should stick with suits or jackets and slacks. They should never wear a hat into the courtroom. Both men and women should make sure that their clothing is not too revealing. Wear clothes that fit you well and are not too tight or too loose.

Cover Tattoos and Remove Piercings

All tattoos should be fully covered. Removable piercings should be taken out before going to court. For example, nose rings, eyebrow rings, lip rings, and other piercings on the face should be removed. In the event that a visible piercing cannot be removed, keep the ring small and simple.

Be Groomed

Hygiene is important. Make sure that you shower and shave before appearing in court. Also, only wear clean clothes into the courthouse. Do not drown yourself in cologne or perfume. Make sure that you don’t smell like cigarettes, food, alcohol or other offensive odors.

Make Sure Your Clothes Fit

Only wear clothes that fit you properly. Save that dress that is just a tad too tight or those slacks that are just a hair too long for another time. For women especially, it is important to have appropriate coverage. Do not try to look sexy by wearing tight clothing or revealing cleavage. As a general rule of thumb, skirts should not fall above your knees. All buttons on blouses should be fastened. Men – your arms and legs should be fully covered. Do not wear tight shirts to show off your muscles.