How to Avoid Surprises in the Courtroom
Court dates are not the time for thinking on your feet. Once you get to the courthouse, you will have to turn off your cell phone, and you will not be able to look up any information. That means no looking up a map of the courthouse on your phone, no emailing documents to a printer, and no calling your family to bring you something that you forgot. Several days before your court date, you should review all the papers that you have filed with the court and that the court has delivered to you. Put all your evidence documents together in one folder well in advance of your court date. Take time to think about what you will say. Sometimes it is helpful to write down bullet points you may want to reference.
On the day of your court appearance, leave home much earlier than you usually would, so early that you could still be on time if you got stuck in traffic for an hour. Parking at the courthouse and finding your assigned courtroom might be much harder than you expect. You do not want to lose your case or, worse, face civil or criminal penalties, just because you missed your court appearance. Many courts require screening. This means leave all sharp objects at home or in your car.
What to Expect When You Go to Court
Just like people in life, there can be differences between how judges conduct their courtroom. Some judges are friendly and can be reassuring, and other judges can be very intimidating and cold.
Nevertheless, here are some universal tips for going to court:
- The clothes you wear to court should be appropriate for a job interview.
- Bring a pen and blank notepad, and take lots of notes. Ask questions if you do not understand something; you do not want to lose your case because of a misunderstanding.
- Never interrupt the judge or roll your eyes when the judge is speaking.
- Talk only when it is your turn.
- If you are calling witnesses for a trial, make sure your witnesses also leave home early enough to be on time even if traffic is terrible.
- Most importantly, professionally prepared legal documents are crucial to your success in court, even if you are representing yourself. In many types of legal cases, having a legal document assistant prepare your documents professionally is as good as having a lawyer represent you.
Professionally Prepared Documents Make a Good Impression in Court
So what should you expect when you go to court? Most certainly if your documents are in order and you present yourself in a prepared and respectable manner, you can expect the best outcome possible. If you plan to represent yourself in court in California, we encourage you to contact A People’s Choice to prepare the documents you need for your case. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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