Following an arrest, you will have to appear in court before a judge on numerous occasions. Whether it will be your first or fifth time walking into a courtroom, it is imperative that you prepare and behave appropriately at all times. You have a duty as a litigant to show the judge that you can follow the rules of courtroom etiquette, but first you must know what they are.
Dress for the occasion.
From your attitude to your outfit, you want to send the message that you take the matter seriously. You may leave a poor impression if you wear shirts that are soiled, stained, have holes or any other signs of wear and tear. Appropriate attire can include clothing a button up shirt, business formal dress, suit and dress pants. Ensure that these items are wrinkle and stain free. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not appropriate. If you choose to wear a dress, make sure it is suitable to wear in front of a judge. You want to make a good impression and taking extra care in what you wear can be one way to do so.
Don’t be late.
If you arrive late, you’re wasting everybody’s time. Tardiness is one way to show a judge that you failed to plan properly and make a timely arrival a priority. To avoid this, you can leave your home extra early to account for any unexpected delays such as traffic, a breakdown, accident or detour. In addition, arriving early can give you an opportunity to meet with your attorney before you step in, if applicable.
Be respectful when addressing the court.
If you are asked to speak to the judge, you should always address them by their proper title. Refer to the judge as, “Your honor,” and stand when you’re speaking. You should also give courtroom staff the same respect that you are expected to show a judge. Don’t yell, laugh or be disruptive in any way during the proceeding. Wait your turn to speak and follow your attorney’s instructions.
Your behavior in the courtroom can have a substantial impact on the way a judge and jury will view you. If you are unable to control yourself or prepare for the occasion, it could damage your character and reputability in the courtroom and hurt your case.