Preparing for Your Court Appearance
Navigating a court case can be confusing and overwhelming. Whether you’re a defendant or a plaintiff, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for the challenge of court.
Organization is key! Before your court date, make sure you have copies of the paperwork you’ve filed, exhibits supporting your argument, and any relevant information the court requires. Pay attention to which documents need to be stamped by the clerk prior to the court hearing. The Court Clerk’s office also has copies of the court rules and any court forms you may need.
Some of the documentation the court will require:
- Proper identification
- Your copy of the summons
- Relevant court documents
- Any bail or bond receipts
- Your method of payment
Hiring an attorney can only be beneficial to your case. Attorneys are trained in state laws and understand the rules of court. They have likely experienced similar cases and have the skills to best present your case to the judge. Practicing before your court appearance is important, and an attorney can give you the necessary tools and information you need to be as comfortable and prepared as possible. Depending on your financial situation, you have the option of retaining a free attorney through Legal Aid, Legal Services, and even the bar association. However, court-appointed attorneys often have heavy caseloads and less time to devote to a single case. Private attorneys may not be free, but they are worth the price because they can dedicate more time and resources to your cause.
How you present yourself to the court matters, and you want your attire to give the correct impression. Consider wearing conservative clothing suitable for a job interview or a respectable social function. You should avoid wearing jeans, clothing with slogans, inappropriate shoes, or shirts that are cut too low. Make sure any tattoos you have are covered. We recommend planning your outfit prior to your court date.
This isn’t daytime television. You must be respectful and polite in court. Any threats or raucous behavior by yourself or your witnesses will not be permitted and can only hurt your case. You must listen to the judge at all times. If you want to get the judge’s attention or wish to make an objection, respectfully stand up and wait for the judge to call on you.
How you can best prepare:
- Prepare your documents in advance
- Get a good night’s rest
- Dress appropriately
- Bring your witnesses and proof/exhibits
- Arrive at court early
- Turn off your cell phone
It’s important that you understand your legal rights. If you require representation or assistance with a court case, contact Joshua T. Crain, Attorneys at Law at (615) 848-2088. Our attorneys are dedicated to supporting and educating our clients as they prepare for their court cases.