Important Courtroom Behaviors to Keep You out of Jail
When you consider the venues where conservative dress and behavior are highly regarded, the courtrooms of America should be very near the top of your list. After all, where would you rather make a favorable impression? Just like an important job interview or meeting your prospective in-laws for the first time, the impression you leave behind could very well mean the difference between success and failure. If you or a loved one is scheduled to appear in court, take the time to review the following suggestions.
Appropriate Courtroom Behavior
- Never be late for a scheduled court appearance. In fact, plan to arrive early. Judges don’t look favorably on a tardy defendant. A judge even possesses the power to remand you into custody for disrespecting the legal process by showing up late for a scheduled appearance.
- Dress for success. A defendant that is well groomed and properly dressed is bound to make a good first impression. Professional business attire is highly recommended. If your wardrobe consists entirely of T-shirts and jeans, it’s probably a good time to go on a shopping spree.
- Hide your tattoos if you have them and ditch your facial jewelry. The jurors that will decide your case may not share your personal fashion preferences.
- Make every effort to be polite and charming when engaging the justice system. The courtroom isn’t the place to display negative attitudes or antagonistic opinions. When addressing court officials, including the judge, always be courteous and respectful.
- Put on your best poker face when listening to legal testimony and other courtroom business. Don’t let anyone, especially the opposition, know what you’re thinking. Share your strong opinions and emotions the next time you meet privately with your lawyer.
- Once your courtroom appearance has ended, don’t try to speak with your lawyer at the counsel table. Leave the courtroom and wait for your attorney in the corridor.
- Chewing gum or sucking on candy in court is considered to be inappropriate behavior.
- Turn off your cell phone. There’s a good chance that the blast of your favorite ringtone will irritate the judge, courtroom officials and jurors.
- Arrange any and all case related papers and documents, including one or two extra copies, in an attractive folder. If anyone involved in your case requests a document, your preparation and attention to detail will be appreciated.
Your attorney can provide additional information regarding the proper way to behave in court. If you are the defendant in a criminal case and you do not possess the financial means to retain qualified legal counsel, the judge will appoint an attorney to represent your legal interests. You are constitutionally entitled to legal representation.