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Proper Etiquette for Criminal Court

If you are facing criminal charges, you are going to have to appear in criminal court. Whenever you have a court hearing, it’s very important that you dress and act appropriately. Otherwise, if you fail to observe the rules of “proper courtroom etiquette,” it could (almost definitely will) have a negative impact on your case.

In society, there are all different rules when it comes to “appropriate behavior.” At church, you must dress nicely, speak quietly, and show respect for the house of worship. In a library, you must whisper and not make any loud noises. If you work in an office, you’re expected watch your language (no cursing) and be sure not to say anything that can construed as “harassment.”

It’s the same in criminal court – there are rules! You are expected to show up early, dress nicely, be respectful to everyone and address the judge with absolute respect.

An honest mistake, such as showing up late for court, texting in the courtroom, bringing your toddler to court because you don’t have a babysitter, wearing shorts and a tank top, or losing your temper and raising your voice can all upset the judge, and therefore start your case off on the wrong foot.

The Rules of Proper Courtroom Etiquette

Before a court date, we always advise our clients on proper courtroom etiquette, because we know that if our client makes a fool of themselves, it can be disastrous for their case. A nice collared shirt and a respectful attitude can go a long way in court, which is why we’re going to share some tips with you.

  • Leave the kids at home
  • Show up early to court
  • Shut off your cellphone before entering the courtroom
  • Dress nicely (Sunday dress)
  • For the ladies, don’t wear anything revealing and keep the makeup to natural colors
  • Stand when the judge enters and leaves the room
  • Address the judge as “your honor”
  • After answering a “yes” or “no” question end off with sir or ma’am
  • NEVER interrupt the judge when he or she is speaking
  • If the judge interrupts you while you’re speaking, stop talking immediately
  • Be polite to your attorney, the judge, the prosecutor, and the courtroom staff at all times
  • Don’t laugh, use foul language, smirk, or otherwise act immature

We cannot stress enough the importance of proper courtroom etiquette. When you appear in court, you want to give the judge and the prosecutor the best impression possible. If you show up to court late, or if you dress poorly, or if you’re loud and obnoxious, it’s definitely going to leave a bad impression and the judge isn’t going to want to give you any kind of a break.

The best way to start your case on the right foot is to follow the tips we provided above. If you are facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas, contact our firm to meet with an experienced member of our legal team!