Going to court for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but don’t let the stress get too much for you to handle.
The way you comport yourself in court can do a lot for your case, and can show the judge that you are a mature, reasonable adult who is respectful of him or her and the court proceedings.
But how do you prevent the stress of the courtroom not get the best of you, especially when you have to speak up? You can learn how to speak in court from us. Here’s our pro tip: take a deep breath.
How To Speak In Court
Make sure that everything you say, you say clearly, calmly, and politely. Before you begin speaking, take a deep breath and clear your head. Speak directly to the judge, using his or her proper form of address, and do not gesticulate wildly or use inappropriate language.
For instance, if you are asked a question by the judge, answer “Yes, your honor,” or “No, your honor.” Using this title is a very important way to show respect to the judge. Additionally, keeping your temper in check, refraining from interrupting or interjecting, and not raising your voice are all good rules to follow when you are speaking in court.
Your body language should be open and honest, so you should refrain from crossing your arms, slouching, looking down at your lap, or looking around like you’re bored. Additionally, refrain from chewing gum or tobacco, or smoking.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to follow for your day in court:
- DO speak calmly and clearly
- DO use the proper forms of address
- DO be polite
- DO stand when you address the court
- DO make eye contact with the judge when you are speaking
- DO ask for clarification if you are unclear about something
- DO thank the judge for listening
- DO arrive early to court
- DO give yourself extra time to get to court
- DO bring all of your pertinent court files with you
- DO dress appropriately
- DON’T interrupt anyone while they are speaking
- DON’T speak over anyone
- DON’T raise your voice
- DON’T lose your temper
- DON’T fold your arms or look bored
- DON’T be late to your court date
- DON’T be on your phone in the courtroom
- DON’T eat or drink while in the courtroom
While this court process may be a scary time for you, the judge, the court clerks and staff, as well as both opposing legal counsels have all been here before. They are not nervous, and they know and can accommodate you being nervous. They won’t be upset with you for being nervous when you speak.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.