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How to Behave in Criminal Court

If you are facing criminal charges, there is a good chance you will have to appear in criminal court at some point. Remember, first impressions make a huge difference. Proper courtroom etiquette is crucial for making a good impression on the judge, court personnel, prosecutor, and the jurors.

While going to court can be intimidating, there are a few tips that will help ensure you follow the proper etiquette and make as good of an impression as possible.


Make sure you are punctual for your court date and time. Try not to arrive late to court. Courtroom personnel don’t think very highly of those who are tardy for their court time, and they hold the final word when it comes to tardiness, which may include booking your case to be heard last or subjecting you to police custody. It is best to arrive early to anticipate parking conditions and to familiarize yourself with the layout of the courthouse. This will also give you time to get ready for your hearing with your attorney.

Be Polite

Make sure you always show respect for the courtroom by eliminating your negative attitude. Be sure to address the judge as “Ma’am, “Sir,” or “Your Honor.” This helps to convey a sense of respect. Make sure not to argue, curse, raise your voice, or use any slang. Only speak when you are instructed to do so or when you have been given permission to do this and never interrupt. Be sure to speak clearly and present the image of being an upstanding citizen. In court, it is customary for just one person to talk at a time. This means you need to avoid speaking out of turn. Turn your cellphone off and do not eat, chew gum, or drink, during your case.

Take Note of Your Body Language

When you are listening to testimony during your case, keep a poker face so no one knows how you feel or what you are thinking. This is necessary regardless of what you hear. Try to resist the temptation to roll your eyes, shake your heat, exhale loudly, or say something sarcastic or nasty. Be sure to pay attention to the proceedings and make eye contact when people are speaking to you to show that you are listening.

Talk to Your Lawyer Outside the Courtroom After the Hearing

After your hearing is done, make sure to talk to your attorney about what happened. Go outside the courtroom for this conversation. If you remain at the counsel table and expect your attorney to speak with you, it is considered inappropriate because staying at the table will interfere with the concept of “order in the court.”

Hire the Right Attorney for Your Case

When it comes to acting properly in court, following the etiquette tips found here will prove extremely beneficial. Be sure to speak with your lawyer about this, as well, as they can provide even more information about what to do and not to do while in court.

If you are in a situation where you are facing criminal charges,  contact Kitchin Law for help

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