How to Prepare for Court
Whether you’re the plaintiff or the defendant, you should be prepared before you step foot into the courtroom. Here are tips on how to dress, how to behave, and how to prepare for your day in court.
What Should I Wear to Court?
First impressions count for a lot in the courtroom, and it’s up to you to present yourself well. Dressing in clean, conservative clothes is a good way to ensure your appearance is setting the proper tone.
Men can wear a suit and tie or a pair of pants and an ironed dress shirt with dress shoes. Women may wear slacks and a shirt, a skirt suit, or a dress, with flats or low heels. Opt for conservative colors and patterns over loud ones.
Your attorney may suggest that you avoid wearing the following clothing items to court:
- Very high heels
- Flip flops
- Skirts or dresses above the knee
- Tank tops or other sleeveless shirts
- Crop tops
- Athletic wear
- Anything else that’s too revealing, too flashy, or too casual
- Visible tattoos (cover them up)
- Piercings other than in the ears (remove them if possible)
- Gaudy jewelry
- Excessive makeup
Also be sure to shower so you’re clean and go easy on the perfume and cologne.
How Should I Behave in Court?
Plan to be on your “best behavior” at all times when you’re in the court. People (the judge or jury) may be watching you and forming opinions which could influence the outcome of your case.
– Be on time
– Don’t chew gum, eat, or drink
– Don’t make noise, talk when it’s not your turn, or listen to music
Importantly, always be aware jurors may not only see you in the courtroom. They may have opportunities to observe you in the parking lot, coming and going to the courtroom, in passing during breaks or recesses, etc.
Additionally, you should know some basic court etiquette.
– Silence your cell phone (and note that some South Carolina courts ban phones entirely)
– Don’t speak when it’s not your turn
– Stand when you address the court
– Address the judge as “Your Honor”
– Follow your attorney’s advice
Finally, if you are hard of hearing, deaf, or not fluent in English, speak with your attorney about getting an interpreter.
How Do I Prepare to Present My Case?
Depending on your case, you may have a quick appearance before a judge where you speak very little, or you may take the stand in front of a jury. Either way, the best thing you can do is speak to your lawyer about what to expect and how to prepare.
No matter what your situation is, it’s not advisable to represent yourself in court. People sometimes mistakenly think they can do a good job representing themselves because their case is simple and/or they’ve seen a lot of law shows on TV and think they know what to do. But in reality, legal proceedings can be very complicated, and making a mistake in court can cost you.
Whether you’re looking for criminal defense or advice on a civil matter like a worker’s compensation case or personal injury case, the attorneys at The Carolina Law Group are ready to talk to you. They have experience in the courtroom and can help you get the justice you deserve. Call one of the numbers below to schedule your free, no obligation consultation today.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.