Let's Talk Courtroom Etiquette
“Can you believe all the ridiculous things people do in court? From ignoring the judge to wearing inappropriate clothing, some people just don't seem to understand basic courtroom etiquette.”
This is an excerpt I overheard between bail bondsman in Canadian County District Court this week. So, it’s that time again. It is time to remind everyone how important it is to act and appear in a professional manner in the courtroom.
The Stakes Are High. In many cases, your freedom is on the line. It just makes sense to give yourself an edge whenever possible, or at least avoid putting yourself in a negative light. This means that you want to be taken seriously. You may not agree with the reasons why you are in court but that is no excuse for disrespectful behavior.
Prepare for Court.
Courtrooms and Courthouses can be hectic, especially Canadian County, Cleveland County, and Oklahoma County Courts. Consider for the Judges and the Courthouse staff. Can you imagine all the chaos the deal with daily? Arriving to the Courtroom on time and following instructions makes everyone’s life easier as it ensures an efficient proceeding for you, your attorney and the court.
Plan to arrive early. This means planning for the unexpected such as traffic delays, time needed to search for parking, etc. Do you need a backup plan?
Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to get from your vehicle to the courtroom. Courthouse security can cause a delay as well as finding the courtroom and meeting up with your attorney or your bail bondsman.
Knowing where to be in advance is imperative. On busy court days there will always be someone running around in a panic trying to figure out which courtroom they are supposed to be in. These last-minute types of defendants stand out and can be frustrating to court staff. Don’t be that guy.
Wake up early enough to make yourself presentable. You will want to appear clean and prepared. A good practice is to set more than one alarm and ask a friend or family member to give you a wake-up call.
Proper attire can be a stress. Plan to dress business as if you were attending a business gathering where business casual is the preferred attire. Make sure your clothes are pressed. A Suit jacket or even a tie is appropriate for men but not necessarily required outside of a trial.
If you have small children, pre-arrange for someone to sit with them. I suggest having a backup plan as well.
If all else fails, remember it is better to be late than to not show up at all. Failing to appear for any reason result in a warrant for your arrest.
Before you enter a courtroom, think about what you are walking into. This is the Court Of Law. It is not a social gathering. As mentioned, the stakes are high, sometimes very high. Your appearance may influence or bias the Judge or the Jury. I personally have witnessed people held in contempt of court for inappropriate attire and even taking photos with their phone inside the courtroom.
Turn off electronic devices before entering a courtroom.
Never wear shorts, hats slee
veless shirts, sandals, T-shirts, Tank tops, or tops that expose your stomach or cleavage.
Stand up when the Judge enters or exits the courtroom. Then remain standing until the judge sits or the bailiff advises the court to be seated.
No public Display of affection inside the courtroom. This means no kissing or sitting with your arm around your partner.
If you are nervous, focus on your body language and your breathing. Nervousness can be perceived as a sign of guilt or contempt.
Do not interrupt whe
n other are speaking, especially an attorney or the Judge.
Refer to the Judge as “Your Honor”
Do not approach The Judge unless instructed to do so.
Don’t let doors slam as you enter or exit the courtroom.
As you can see, the courtroom is a place where many people are on edge. It's important to remember that your actions in court may have an effect on how well your case goes and also reflect poorly on you as a person if they're not done properly. For this reason, it's crucial that all attendees follow proper etiquette when addressing judges or jurors during proceedings. If any of these rules seem unclear to you, give us a call at Good Guys Bail Bonds Canadian County for clarification. We'll be glad to help out!