Not only is it important to dress appropriately for court, but your behavior also matters as well. A courtroom is a serious place which demands the highest form of respect. If you are a defendant who is facing criminal charges, how you behave in court could mean the difference between conviction and freedom.
The following are several tips for behaving in the courtroom:
- Arrive in a timely manner – It is best to arrive at least 15 minutes before you are scheduled to appear in court. This also gives you time to if you experience traffic or issues with parking your vehicle. If you cannot drive, ask a friend or relative to give you a ride or plan a bus route.
- Turn off your phone – While most courtrooms prohibit cellphones once court is in session, please turn it off if the courtroom does allow them. Do not even set your phone on vibrate, since a vibrating phone can still be disruptive.
- Follow the rules – When the judge enters the courtroom, remain standing until he/she takes a seat. You must also stand when the judge gets up to leave and wait until he/she leaves the courtroom. Remain quiet until you are called upon to speak, so avoid talking to the other party. If the judge asks you a question, address him/her as “Your Honor.”
- Keep your body language in check – No matter what is being said in the courtroom, avoid any urge to shake your head, sigh out loud, roll your eyes, or verbally respond to anything. Losing control during the proceeding can harm your case.
If you follow these tips, you will earn the respect of the judge and jury, which improves your chances of obtaining a positive outcome in your case. Having a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side can ensure that you do not make any mistakes when it’s your time in court.