Etiquette Guidelines for the Courthouse and Courtroom Appearances
Appearing in court can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, but knowing how to present yourself, and the general etiquette guidelines to follow, can help alleviate a lot of the stress and insecurity you may feel.
You want to show up to court in a general business casual attire. Being formally dressed is not needed and can be uncomfortable, while arriving in casual or skimpy sandals or shorts is frowned upon. You also want to ensure that you are not displaying any controversial, violent, or drug-related images in the form of tattoos or clothing graphics. Leave any weapons, even pocket-knives, at home or in the car. Please read our article that goes into great detail regarding appropriate courtroom wardrobe.
It is important to show up to your court hearing early. In fact, arriving thirty minutes in advance is ideal. Some courthouses are quite large and may require you to go through metal detectors, check-in, walk long distances through vast lobbies and hallways, and use connecting elevators. Combined with finding parking or utilizing a nearby parking garage, it is easy to run late, especially in an environment you are unfamiliar with.
If you are running late for some reason, contact your attorney as soon as possible so they can let the court know. A failure to appear could result in the judge issuing a bench warrant for your arrest.
Turn your phone off before walking into the courtroom. Texting and taking phone calls is not permitted. You don’t want to have your notifications or ringer going off in front of a judge. If you have any other electronic devices, these should also be silenced or shut off.
Talking and Other Behavior
You should not talk while in the courtroom unless it has been requested of you. Instead, you can write notes to your attorney as you sit together during the hearing. Even discreet whispers will irritate the judge and can impact the court reporter’s ability to transcribe the proceedings.
Try your best to remain calm and stoic throughout the hearing. You do not want to be making rude gestures or sounds, such as rolling your eyes or groaning.
Arrive to court sober. Do NOT show up drunk or high.
Addressing the Judge
Always speak to the judge with respect, referring to them as “Your Honor,” “Sir,” or “Ma’am.” Do not call them “Judge.” You want to be on your best behavior in front of the judge at all times.
Telephonic or Video Court Hearings
Some court hearings may be conducted over the phone or through video conferencing. In this case, it is not necessary to call in or log in a half hour early. A few minutes early is fine. After connecting, be sure to mute your phone or microphone until you are called on, and follow the same etiquette guidelines as for in-person appearances.
Court Appearance Preparation with Rideout Law Group
Your Rideout Law Group attorney will call you prior to your court hearing to ensure you know where to go and what to expect. If you have any questions, ask now so that nothing is left to the last minute.
Click below to read more specific courtroom guidelines from a few of the courts within Arizona:
RIDEOUT LAW GROUP
With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.
Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:
- charges that are reduced or dropped.
- top experts reviewing your case.
- aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
- fines or probation in lieu of jail time.
At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.
Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.