If you have an upcoming courtroom appearance, being prepared ahead of time can help you to feel more confident and relaxed, which could result in a successful outcome for your case. Your attorney should be relied on for specific advice and pointers, but read below for 9 tips that will assure your courtroom appearance is a positive experience.
1. Get familiar with general courtroom procedures by watching videos online. Finding a case similar to your own will give you a good overall impression of what to expect as your own case proceeds and give you an overview of basic courtroom procedures.
2. Take care in your appearance; looks do matter. Make sure your clothing is clean and pressed and appropriate for a somber, formal occasion. Do not wear anything on your head (including sunglasses), unless for religious reasons. For men, do not wear sandals, tank tops or short pants. For women, don't wear revealing clothing.
3. Use the proper form of address for the judge. Your attorney will likely know the exact wording a particular judge prefers, but generally it should be "judge", "sir" or "ma'am" or "your honor".
4. Communicate clearly and at a reasonably loud volume without using slang or cursing. Say "yes" or "no" instead of "yeah" or "nope".
5. Even though gum-chewing is a good stress reliever, remove it before the proceedings begin. No food or drink, with the possible exception of a bottle of water, should be brought into the courtroom.
6. Watch your facial expressions, even when you are not on the witness stand. Making faces, such as eye-rolling, smiling or shaking your head could land you in contempt of court.
7. Keep calm and respectful when being questioned. Be prepared for the other attorney to try to shake you up with various methods in an attempt to cause you to say something imprudent, so stay cool.
8. Speak only when addressed and never approach the judge or attempt to leave the witness stand without permission.
9. It's tempting to answer the attorney's questions while looking at them, but remember you really should be addressing either the judge or the jury. It may be helpful to pick out one or two jury members to focus your attention on when answering. You can expect your attorney to help you to prepare for being questioned with practice sessions.
By following the above tips and working closely with your attorney to prepare for your "day in court", you should be perfectly prepared for a successful courtroom appearance and a positive outcome for your case. However, for more legal counsel on proper courtroom behavior, contact a law firm, such as Morgan Law PLLC.