When your court date is approaching, it’s normal to be anxious. Especially if you’ve never had to experience a trial before. Here’s what you should be doing to prepare for trial and what you should do on the day of your court date.
You should have already hired an attorney well before your court date. You will be more prepared and ready to face the unexpected if you have an experienced trial attorney on your side.
Gathering and preparing evidence is one of the most important things that should happen before your court date. You must cooperate with your attorney and provide all the documents he or she requests in a prompt manner. You should let the attorney know in whose possession other key evidence may be. On the day of your trial, you and your attorney should have all relevant documents and all evidence labeled, numbered and bound.
Before your court date, your attorney will inform you of the address, courtroom and time to appear. If you do not have an attorney, you will probably receive a Notice from the opposing attorney or the Court. If not, you should be sure to know information like what courtroom you should show up in by calling the county clerk of court’s office. Find out what time you should be there and, though your case may not last the entire session, be prepared to stay the whole time.
Don’t speak to the opposing party before your court date. Even though you think you might be able to smooth things over beforehand, all communication should go through both your attorney and opposing counsel.
On the day of your trial, you should dress as your attorney instructs or have researched the specific dress code your county might have and dress accordingly
Arriving early is a must to ensure parking, security passage, finding the correct courtroom, and meeting your attorney on time. Though arriving early is important, there could be an hours-long wait time before your case is heard by the court. Be prepared with a book or magazine if your attorney tells you it is okay to wait outside the courtroom. You will NOT be able to read in the courtroom. Cell phones may not be allowed in the courtroom, however, if they are, be sure yours is on silent.
If you are responsible for bringing any court documents or evidence with you to the courthouse, be sure you have that in your possession. You may not be allowed to leave once the court is in session. You should also bring a pencil and paper with you to take notes.
In The Courtroom
Show respect to the court, staff, and other litigants. Do not speak, unless it is to your attorney or other court personnel. Do not interrupt, speak over, or argue with the judge when your case is being heard. When speaking with the judge, address them appropriately as “Your Honor,” or simply, “Judge.” Speak clearly and loudly when called upon.
It’s common in certain types of cases for more than one hearing to be held on the same day in the same courtroom. The judge will typically call the names of everyone scheduled for the day. Let the court personnel know if the Judge does not call your name; it is possible you may be in the wrong courtroom.
There may be no set order in which cases are heard, and each judge may handle the order differently. Be prepared to be called to the front of the courtroom at any time.
If you are represented by an attorney, they will be able to let you know what to expect once you are in the courtroom.
It’s always a good idea to have an attorney present, no matter what your case may be. Let our experienced attorneys help you. Call us at (704) 850-5684 to see how we can assist you in your case.