Standing before a judge, a jury, your lawyer, prosecutors, and other witnesses and government officials is perhaps one of the most frightening situations to be in – these are the people who will decide your fate and future. The best way to prepare yourself is to understand and follow proper court etiquette so the room will take you seriously. Be mindful that improper etiquette and disruptions can result in the judge ordering your removal from the court and delaying your hearing – not a good sign at all. Here are some things to consider:
- Weapons and drugs are prohibited.
- Remove sunglasses, hats, and hoods in court. Dress professionally and neatly.
- Do not chew gum.
- Avoid using “um.”
- Stand up straight and speak clearly.
- Be early – being late can render your bail null.
- When asked a yes or no question, say “yes” or “no.” Do not simply shake your head. Answer only what you are asked.
- Turn electronic devices off. They are not to be used in the courtroom.
- Pay attention to any and all instruction given too you.
- Use Sir, Ma’am, Mr., Ms., Mrs., and Your Honor. Nothing like, “hey, you” that is very informal and somewhat rude.
Following these rules will help you get through the process quicker, even though it will seem like it takes forever. Proper court etiquette could prove very well for you. You will be taken seriously and you will see a proper, fair result. Don’t give others a reason to believe you are a bad person.