Are you getting ready for your first courtroom appearance? When you go to court, it’s important that you respect the rules of the institution. Learn about courtroom etiquette, so you behave properly during your appearance.

Be on Time

Showing up on time is one of the most important rules of the court. Judges do not appreciate it when people walk in after court is in session. It is a good idea to arrive at least 10 minutes before the court is scheduled to begin. Waiting a few minutes is preferable to walking in late. It will also show the court that you are serious about your case.

Be Courteous When Waiting

You will want your case to begin as soon as you arrive, but you might have to wait. Make sure you are respectful and courteous when waiting outside of the courtroom.

Dress Appropriately

Appropriate attire is a sign of respect when in court. Business attire is the preferred dress for people in a courtroom. You should also be well-groomed when you walk into court. That includes brushing your hair, covering your tattoos, and trimming your facial hair, if applicable.

Respect the Judge

The judge is the ultimate authority in the courtroom and deserves your respect. When speaking to the judge, address him or her as “your honor.” This shows the judge that you respect his or her authority.

Respect Everyone Else, Too

You also need to respect everyone inside of the court, including the attorneys and other participants in the case. Failing to respect someone in the court will be a poor reflection on you and could make the jury think less of you. If you appear disrespectful, it might be difficult for the jury to side with you.

Speak Formally

You might use slang in your everyday life. While there is a time and place for it, it is not recommended in the courtroom. Use proper English when speaking in court.

Only Speak When Instructed

You should only speak in court when you are instructed to do so. You may speak when the judge or an attorney asks you a question, but do not speak out of turn. Also, never interrupt anyone while in court.

Leave Distractions at Home

When you are in court, you need to pay full attention to the proceedings. That means you need to leave distractions such as cell phones at home. Playing on a cell phone is a fast and easy way to get on the judge’s bad side.

Don’t Eat or Drink

You might want to bring some food and a beverage into the courtroom, but fight the urge. If the case is long, you will get a break to eat and drink. If you try to bring any food and beverages into the court, you’ll be asked to exit.

Tell the Truth

Being truthful is also part of proper courtroom etiquette. The legal institution is based on truth and fairness. Giving false information can damage your case and harm the integrity of the court.

Never Argue

It is possible that someone will say something in court that upsets you. You might not agree with what is said, but you should never argue. It is your lawyer’s job to argue on your behalf. Let your lawyer do his or her job. If you step in, you could hurt your case.

Prepare for Your Appearance in Court

Follow these courtroom etiquette tips to ensure you make a good impression when you are in court. A courtroom should be respected at all times, and these tips will help you present yourself in the right way. You will make the right impression, and then your lawyer can get to work for you.