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Dos and Don’ts: Appearing in Court

lawyers_judge_attorney_court.jpgWhether you are charged with a serious crime or contesting a traffic ticket, there are rules you need to follow whenever you appear before a judge. Here are some rules you should keep in mind if you are going to court.

Dress for Success

The easiest way to show a judge that you respect the court and that you take this matter seriously is to show up well-groomed and in appropriate attire. Wear a suit or other professional attire and be well groomed. Facial hair is acceptable, but keep it trimmed and neat.

Do Not Speak Without Checking With Your Attorney

If you are a defendant in a criminal case, your right to remain silent extends to the courtroom. You do not have to speak and you have the right to ask your attorney whether it is a good idea to respond, even if the judge is asking you a question.

Be Respectful to the Judge and the Staff

You may be accused of doing awful things to people, and you may be totally innocent of those acts. Despite what is being said about you, you must not respond unless you have been asked to by the judge. Interrupting the judge or responding out of turn is an easy way to earn the judge’s wrath.

This seems like an easy rule to remember, but in the heat of the moment, a lot of people forget where they are, especially when they are accused of doing something they did not do. Remember, you are on the judge’s turf. Judges are used to a certain level of respect in their courtrooms, and can impose penalties for contempt of court for behavior that crosses a line.

When speaking to the judge, address him or her as “Your Honor.” Address the courtroom personnel as “sir” or “ma’am” where appropriate. When seated in the courtroom, do not lean back in your chair and put your feet up on the table.

Outbursts Can Hurt You Now and Later

Not only can a judge hold you in contempt for interruptions and outbursts, but that behavior can also hurt you if you wish to appeal the outcome of your case. The court reporter’s record is crucial in appeals, and if the record is not clear because you were talking at the same time as the witness, prosecutor or the judge, the court reporter may not be able to keep an accurate record of what was said.

No Phones, Food, Drinks, or Children

Judges dislike distractions. The vibrating of your smartphone, the snapping of your chewing gum, or the rattle of ice in your soda are all sounds that are sure to earn you the unwanted scorn of the judge, even if you are in the gallery. Leave your phone off and in your pocket, and leave your food and drink outside.

While it may seem harsh, many courtrooms prohibit children for many reasons. First, children can be distracting. More importantly, the subject matter can be inappropriate for a child’s ears. Finally, most courts do not have a daycare center, so there is nowhere for them to be but in the gallery while you are having your case heard. If you have to go to court, make arrangement for someone to watch your children while you are there.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you have to appear in court, you should seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and help you make a favorable impression to the court. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have been successfully guiding people through the complex legal system for over 35 years. We can help you now

With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Torrance and West Covina, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to near you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.