Courtrooms are imposing, serious places that have their own brand of etiquette, and if you are heading to court, it behooves you to take courtroom etiquette seriously. The old adage that you only get one opportunity to make a first impression may have no more appropriate application than a courtroom appearance. If you are facing a criminal charge, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Temple criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
Be on Time
Showing up on time is half the battle in virtually every aspect of life, and it is especially true when it comes to the court. Courts run on tight schedules, and people’s lives, futures, and freedom can hang in the balance. Being late for your court date shows a profound lack of respect for the legal process, for the court itself, and for the judge presiding over your case, and you can rest assured that failing to be on time will work against you.
The courtroom is a serious place where serious matters are resolved, including your own, and dressing conservatively, appropriately, and well reflects how seriously you take the matter. This is in addition to demonstrating your respect for the process, the court, and the judge, which are all important. If you dress the way you would for an important job interview, you will be on the right track.
Mind Your P’s and Q’s
When you appear in a courtroom, it is time to let your best behavior shine. Consider all of the following:
Allow your criminal defense lawyer to do his or her job and to do the talking for you (which means remaining silent unless you are directly requested to do otherwise).
If you are required to address the judge, be sure to use your honor or judge in your response (sir or ma’am are also generally acceptable).
Do not chew gum or use any tobacco products.
Keep your phone off.
Do not use profanity or obscene language.
Speak only when you are required to do so, and when this is the case, speak only to your attorney, the bailiff, or the judge.
Never argue with the judge, and always obey any instructions put to you by the judge or bailiff.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Keeping your emotions in check throughout your court appearance can be difficult, but it helps to ensure that you understand what is happening throughout the process and that your emotions do not get the better of you and, ultimately, negatively affect the outcome of your case. This being said, you are not expected to act like a robot and should not attempt to do so.