Everybody has seen a courtroom on movies and television, but when it is time to go to the courthouse for the first time, it can be a nervous time, let alone being worried about what is going to happen in your hearing or trial. Add that worry to it and we get a lot of questions about what it is going to be like when we go to Court with our clients. Everybody wants to have success in court.
Here are some tips to prepare for success in court andhelp you through the first time (or any time) that you have to appear in Court.
- Remember that the courthouse is not the place for social media – of any kind. Do not tweet, facebook, instagram or post to any other social media while you are in the courtroom. To be safe, I say don’t do it all when you are at the courthouse. There are rules that govern how all of us behave in the courts, and each judge has specific rules for their courtroom. Judges have the power to, and do, call out people in their courtrooms who break their rules. This is called being ‘in contempt of court’. Judges can find a person in contempt of court and fine them for breaking the rules in their courtroom. Give each judge and their courtroom the respect that their position and role in the judicial system requires and you’ll be fine.
- Dress for Success – This is a saying that we have all heard many times and it works for the courthouse as well. Again, respect your location and dress accordingly – no shorts, nothing exposed, no t-shirts with a catchy saying.
- Turn off your phone and your conversations at the door(s) to the courtroom. As you enter the courtroom, make sure that your phone is off. In this day and age of the smartphone, judges do not want to be disturbed with a phone ringing or signaling that a call or text has been received. Judges can find someone in contempt of court for this, and fine them for breaking this rule, too.
- Ask your lawyer. Before you go to Court, ask your lawyer or their paralegal if there is anything special you should know or remember about the Judge or courtroom where your case is set. And then remember that if you forget everything else, your lawyer will be there with you and will be able to answer your questions that day, too.
- Finally, take a deep breath. It sounds simple, but it is true. Breathe, you’ll get through it.
Jill O’Connell represents people with family law and divorce issues, and would be happy to visit with you. Please call us at 940-497-5454 to set up an appointment with her.