You may end up in front of a judge for a number of reasons, but no matter what brings you to the courthouse, it is important to present yourself in the best light possible. So, here are some ways to prepare for your court appearance:
- Talk to your attorney. Attorneys know the court system, and will provide you guidance on how to proceed.
- Dress professionally. Many courts have a dress code to follow, even small-claims or traffic courts. The issues may be minor, but the dress code will still be in place. Avoid jeans, tshirts, sandals or other unprofessional attire.
- Be on time. Court schedules may sometimes run over, but you should never count on that. Take appropriate measures to arrive at court with enough time to get through security and locate the appropriate courtroom.
- Be courteous. When addressing the judge, always use the formal “your honor”, be respectful, don’t interrupt, and don’t argue.
- Do your research. Learn the rules of the court you will be visiting. Each courthouse has different regulations, and while they all follow similar themes, it is best to go to court prepared with their expectations.
Your attorney will likely review all of this with you well before you need to be in court. Don’t be shy if you have a question. Even if you aren’t attending court for a personal legal matter, you want to present your best, and your attorney is the greatest resource on how to do that.