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Courtroom Etiquette: Preparing Yourself for Court

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Courtroom Etiquette: Preparing Yourself for Court


Etiquette is essential when you want to make a good impression. It’s important when you go on a job interview, when you meet your new neighbors, when you attend a funeral or church service, when you go to Back to School Night for your kids, and when you go on a date – etiquette is important in everyday life. It’s especially important when you have to appear in court.

One of the first things criminal defense attorneys do with their clients is teach them to how to behave in court. If a defendant falters in their actions or behavior, it can directly impact the outcome of their case. Rub the judge or the jurors the wrong way and it can lead to the harshest penalties allowed by the law.

How to Behave in Criminal Court

Want to give yourself the best chances of success at your court hearings? Follow these tips on how to behave in court. If you memorize them and follow our advice, you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Because, poor courtroom etiquette is a recipe for disaster.

Tips on preparing yourself for court:

  1. Please leave your children at home. Court is not a place for kids unfortunately.
  2. Arrive early.
  3. Do not chew gum.
  4. Do not bring food into the courtroom.
  5. Before entering the courtroom, turn off your cellphone.
  6. Do not wear earbuds or headphones.
  7. Dress nicely, as if you’re heading to a job interview at a bank or attending church. If you had to come directly from work and you’re dressed-down, mention that to the judge.
  8. Do not wear t-shirts, low-cut blouses, short skirts, baggy pants, tank tops, or flip-flops.
  9. For women, do not wear revealing clothing.
  10. Make sure your hair is neat.
  11. Stand when the judge enters the room and sit when everyone else does.
  12. Treat the other side with respect.
  13. Answer questions, even if you think they are foolish.
  14. Treat the prosecutor, the judge, the jurors, all courtroom staff, and your defense attorney with respect.
  15. Do not argue with the prosecutor or the judge.
  16. Do not give sarcastic answers.
  17. Respectfully pay attention and listen.
  18. Refer to the judge as “Your Honor.”
  19. Do not interrupt the judge.
  20. If the judge interrupts you, stop and listen.
  21. Do not act immature, roll your eyes, or make faces in court.
  22. Don’t lose your temper with the other side or the judge.

Are you looking for a Reno criminal defense lawyer to defend your charges? Contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover to schedule a free case evaluation.

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