If you are about to make your first court appearance you might be a bit confused and scared. There are so many rules and formalities that you are not very familiar with. And on top of those, the fear of not getting the outcome you hoped for gets stuck to your head and you are no longer free. But there is no need to worry: there are things that you need to do before your first court appearance. And after that, you will be just fine.
As organized as you have never been
Getting yourself organized is one of the most important things you will need to do before your court appearance. So try to get everything in order ahead of time. That will give you ease of mind: ensuring that you did not miss anything. And when I say get yourself organized, I mean make sure that all of your paperwork and documentation is in order before the court appearance date. And if you have someone representing yourself, make sure to talk to them.
Check out the courthouse
If you are going to visit your grandmother who lives in Bakersfield and you have never been to Bakersfield you might be a bit confused. But when you visit her for the second time you will be more confident of where you are going. The same work here. You should visit the courthouse once before your first court appearance. Knowing the route you need to take to get there will help you a lot. And if possible, walk into the courtroom and observe how people act and dress.
Put together your look
It may sound silly at first, but your appearance during your first court date will matter. And whatever you are wearing will matter, too. So dress as if you are going to a job interview or a formal business meeting. Try to go for neutral tones and traditional hemlines. And it is not only about your clothes: your hairstyle, accessories, shoes and make-up matter as well.
Plan your whole day
Try to plan your day according to your court appearance, because, trust me, you will not want to have anything interrupting your first court appearance. Therefore, schedule your day accordingly. Make sure to arrive at the courthouse early: being late is not going to serve you right. Moreover, since you can never know how long the overall process will take, don’t plan anything right before or after your appearance.
Be sensitive to the judge’s perspective
You need to understand that typically, your case will be just 1 out of 20 or so cases on the court’s calendar at that specific day. And be sure that no matter how crazy your case is, the judge has already heard something even crazier before. Moreover, your judge has the responsibility of efficiently getting through many cases every day. And he/she also have to make hard decisions with little time.
And it is also important to remember that the judge is a real person who has his/her own problems outside of the courtroom. Your judge may be idealistic and interested in making a positive impact in the world. Or he/she may have become bitter and cynical or could be somewhere in between. So make sure to do an internet search of your judge to find out more about their background. You will then know what is important for the judge.
Finished with your hearing?
You may think that as soon as you are finished with your hearing you can act however you want. But keeping yourself together is just as important after the hearing as during. So stay composed regardless of the result: don’t cry or storm out of the court. Make sure to thank the judge and the court staff for their time. Moreover, make sure you don’t have to wait around after your hearing to receive any papers from the court, like a conformed copy of an order.
And if you have an attorney, ask him/her to debrief you before you leave the courthouse, to summarize the effect of what occurred in court, and any follow-up action. Moreover, if you are on your own make sure to write down notes of anything important that occurred that you don’t want to forget. Writing out a task list of what you need to do in the future is also important.
And now, you are done with your first court hearing. So go do whatever makes you happy: eat bacon cheddar McChicken, go play bowling with your family, make a fancy entrance to a club with your friends. But remember, every time you need to make a court appearance you need to be prepared. And if you are too busy and you value your time, you should find an appearance attorney who will appear in court for you. AppearMe is here to make your life easier.