Going to court is quite intense and could be an overwhelming experience because you are unaware of what will happen. The fear of losing the case may scare you. However, to save yourself from all the uncertainties, we have arranged a guide that will help you prepare for your first appearance in court.
Select comfortable, formal clothes when getting ready for court, and ensure that your outfits show respect for the court. Avoid any of the dresses you would wear on a club or party night, and stick to professional clothes. Keep in mind that focus should always be made on what you are saying rather than what you are wearing or your overall appearance.
Things Not to Bring to the Court
Before entering the court, you will go through a metal detector. The information found at https://blackwellruiz.com/ recommends being cooperative and avoiding wearing heavy buckle belts or jewelry you may have to remove. Knives, weapons, food, and drinks are not allowed in the courtrooms unless you have a medical condition.
You should bring your hearing notice and all the related documents that might help in the case like:
- Copies of court orders
- Police orders
- Pay slips
- Medical records
- Any important letters or emails related to the case
If the case you have filed is related to injuries, then make sure you bring any potential witnesses.
If you are heading to court for a family matter like a custody hearing or divorce, you must be careful about who you bring to the court. For example, if it’s a divorce case and you bring your new boyfriend or girlfriend, it can make things difficult for you and you may lose the case. Make sure it’s someone who is not directly involved in the case and knows how to stay calm and give good advice if something goes wrong.
Witnesses are the best evidence you can have. Since merely repeating what someone else has told you does not amount to evidence, if you have someone you think will be a good witness, don’t hesitate to bring them along.
Don’t Bring Your Child with You
It’s hard to determine the time you will spend in court, so don’t make other plans for the day. Don’t bring your child to court, as kids can cause disruptions in the courtroom. Noisy children will be asked to leave the courtroom so if you are planning on taking your child, bring some books or toys to keep them occupied.
Be on Time
As this is your first appearance, you must be in court at least one hour before your hearing because you need to find the courtroom. Some courthouses don’t have parking areas, so you may need additional time to secure parking. You may also need to print certain documents, so being on time can save you the hassle.
Once you are inside the court, take out the hearing notice and use it to find the right courtroom. You can also ask someone in the clerk’s office where to go. The clerk’s office is where the papers are filed. Most courthouses have a court service center and the staff can guide you to fill out the forms.
The Final Step
After finding the right courtroom, check with the clerk’s office, so the court knows you are here for the hearing. It’s probably best to keep quiet while they call you for the case. While waiting, ensure you are not chewing gum, using a cell phone, or toying with anything else.
Before you see the judge, you have to meet with the mediator. A mediator works for the court and tries to solve the case after hearing both sides and reviewing any written agreement. A mediator doesn’t give advice, but simply hears both parties. At this step, friends, relatives, or anyone you have brought with you will wait outside.
You need to be polite, wait for your turn to speak, and answer all the questions that the mediator may have for you. You have all the right to appear before a judge if mediation doesn’t work out.
You are required to stand whenever the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. Pay close attention to what the judge is saying, and ensure that you address the judge as your honor.
Remember to be respectful to every single person you meet in the court. You may just secure a better outcome for yourself by following all the pieces of advice given above.