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How to Survive Your Day in Court
Trip to the courtroom can be a stressful experience. Going to court is not as dramatic or glamorous as it seems on TV. No matter whether you should go to court as a witness or to collect damages as you were injured you will probably feel some uneasiness about the situation. Once the proceedings launch the feeling of uneasiness may yield to jealousy, anger or sadness, and keeping your cool and maintaining professionalism in such situation will become even more vital.
The following tips will help you ease through this intimidating process and keep sanity.
Dress and behave as a professional
The legal system is based not only on law and justice but on appearance and perception as well. If a person look like a criminal, subconsciously judged and jurors will be inclined to associate him with guilt, moreover the judge may be less like to be unbiased towards him.
No matter whether you are faced with a minor dispute with your neighbors or criminal proceedings appearing in court is a serious occasion which should be treated correspondingly. Proper courtroom attire combined with the best behavior will keep the scales more balanced towards you favor.
Don`t give a judge any chance to automatically suppose that you are guilty. Don`t forget to camouflage tattoos if you have any and retain from other forms of dress that may mislead the judge. Prefer dark colored suits and perfectly ironed, neat blouses in subtle colors, such as pastels, white or dark.
Keep yourself calm
Treat everybody in the courtroom with respect and dignity no matter how anxious, nervous or angry you are. Dignified appearance should be maintained throughout the legal process. Listen attentively and make sure you understand what is being asked of you or said to you. When you are nervous listening to what is being said can be a real challenge. So don`t panic and force yourself to remain concentrated on what is being said to you and around you. However, if you have missed something or misunderstood you can ask the participants to repeat.
Maintain contact with a judge
You should refer the judge as «Your Honor» and always speak with dignity and respect. It`s inadmissible to act short-tempered or angry with the judge no matter how upset or embarrassed you are about your case. Refrain from arguing with a judge. Aggressive behavior with the person which has power to make decision for or against your favor may be detrimental for the outcome of your case. Remember, the judge is always right in the courtroom no matter whether you agree with him/her or not.
There is a common belief that if the person fails to look into your eyes while speaking to you then he is a liar. So always try to maintain eye contact with the judge not to be suspected in telling a lie.