For a lot of people, the thought of going to court is stressful and intimidating. Knowing the rules and formalities and not knowing what the outcome will be can make the process confusing. Even if you have an attorney by your side, the anticipation of your first court date can be difficult to cope with. There are some things you can do, however, to make your court date a little less scary.
Check in with your attorney to see what you need to bring with you to the court date and make sure that you have all of those documents organized and in one place. Make sure your attorney doesn’t need anything else from you before the date. Give yourself enough time to gather everything you need.
VISIT THE COURTHOUSE
If you’ve never been to the courthouse before it may be helpful to go there before your hearing so you can make sure that you know where to go, where to park, and where your assigned courtroom is located. Once you’re familiar with the surroundings, you may be less intimidated on the big day.
PLAN WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR
Even if you don’t believe it, your appearance on your first court date is important. You want to show the judge that you’re taking court very seriously and that you understand the importance of the matter. Dress like you would for a job interview or a business meeting. You should strive for a professional and conservative look. A suit and tie work well. Stick to neutral tones and conservative hemlines. Also pay attention to your hairstyle, accessories, and shoes. Keep them as neutral and traditional as possible. Also, try to wear clothes that don’t make you too uncomfortable, so you don’t fidget.
PLAN YOUR DAY
You don’t want anything to interrupt your court appearance so make sure to plan your day accordingly. Ask for the day off from work well in advance and be sure to arrange childcare. Plan to arrive at the courthouse early as it is very important not to be late and your attorney may want to meet with you beforehand. Don’t schedule anything right after your appearance as court schedules can be unpredictable and you never know how long you will be there.
You may be feeling nervous about your first court date, but it is important to remain calm and levelheaded. Educate yourself on courtroom etiquette and ask your attorney if there is anything you need to know about the particular court you’ll be in front of. When you are in court, do not interrupt the judge and do not argue with the opposing side. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your first court appearance, speak with your attorney and they will be able to explain what happened and discuss next steps.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY
If you’ve been arrested and have an upcoming court date, you need an experienced criminal attorney to help you get the best possible outcome. Contact the attorneys at Alpert Schreyer or call us at (301) 321-7277 to schedule a free consultation.