December 14, 2016
Most people don’t go to court often. Whether you’ve retained a lawyer or are representing yourself these 5 tips will help you put your best foot forward in court.
1. Be on Time
It sounds simple I know but everyday judges are faced with people who are late for court or who don’t show up at all. In a world where trials are scheduled several months (sometimes even years) after alleged offences are committed, court time is at a premium. You don’t want to be the reason court is delayed.
2. Avoid Fashion Faux-Pas
I’m not saying you need to suit up for every court appearance but you really should make smart choices when you’re getting dressed for court. Avoid t-shirts that advertise liquor or glorify violence. Take a pass on anything with a “funny” slogan or racial slur. And save your thug-life, pistol-whipped sweatshirt for another day.
3. Turn your Cellphone Off
The last thing you want is to have your cell phone go off in court while you’re waiting for your matter to be called. Some Judges will stop court and make a big deal out of it, others will pretend like it didn’t happen but regardless of how the judge reacts, you can guarantee they know who’s phone it was and they will remember when your matter is called. Don’t make things any harder for yourself, just turn your phone off.
4. It’s a Courtroom, not a Dorm Room
There are no snacks allowed in the courtroom. No coffee, no water, nothing. Also, if you walk into a courtroom with a backpack, one of the kind sheriff’s will walk you out and invite you to check your bag at their office. These aren’t big things but they can be inconvenient. Plan to eat breakfast before you get to court and don’t bring anything with you into the courthouse that you don’t absolutely need.
5. If you put it on the Internet, the Judge may see it
There are many things in this world that are private, Facebook and Twitter are not. If you put something on the internet for your friends to see, it is entirely possible that your lawyer could see it. If your lawyer can see it, then the lawyer on the other side can see it too. See where I’m going here…I’ve seen entire cases derailed by Facebook photos with foolish captions. Even if your account is private, don’t discount the possibility that one of your “friends” could print off your timeline or messenger conversations and give copies to the other side. It is very difficult to argue against something that can be put before a judge in black and white. If you can’t post anything nice, don’t post anything at all.
Caution: This is not legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. To ensure your interests are protected, seek formal advice from a lawyer.