Tad Nelson’s Tips For Court
1. Judges are Human
Judges are highly influenced by the impression that you make on them. Always dress nicely when appearing in court. Try to wear business casual clothes when possible, and make sure that your clothes are clean and modest.
Do not wear shorts, sandals, or sleeveless shirts to the courthouse under any circumstances, as the judge may ask you to leave and change into something more modest.
Work clothes are acceptable, as they may show the judge that you are gainfully employed. Your attire will show the judge that you are taking the court proceedings seriously.
2. Be On Time
This is one of the most important tips in ensuring that you get an impartial attitude from the judge. He will form an impression about your willingness to comply with probation by your punctuality. Your attorney will be grateful and will be able to put energy into your case rather than apologizing for your absence and/or tardiness.
If you are late to a scheduled trial, the judge may immediately issue a bench warrant for your arrest, thus assuming the bail agent to reassume your bail. This may require you to pay another bonding fee to the bondsman, which will increase the percentage paid to the bondsman since you defaulted on the first bond.
If you are unavoidable late, call the court and tell them when you expect to be there. If you have a medical emergency, notify the court or have a close family member call them and explain your situation.
Just like in grade school, you will need to bring a note from your doctor to the court in order to ensure a smooth beginning to the proceedings. When you are assigned a court date, carry the phone numbers to the courthouse with you at all times until the trial has concluded.
3. Address the Judge Respectfully
Some of our clients get confused about how to properly address female judges. “Yes, your honor” and “No, your honor” works for both male and female judges. If you feel more comfortable with “Yes, Ma’am” or “No, Sir”, then that is fine as well. Be sure to speak loudly enough to be heard by the judge and the court reporter, and if you do not understand something that the judge is saying, then just say so and he or she will explain in more detail.
4. Keep Track of What is Happening
Get yourself a binder, notebook, briefcase, voice recorder, or computer device dedicated to your court case. Keep track of any questions that you may have for your lawyer, or any questions that you may have for the judge. Write down your next court appearance, and also keep the phone number to the courthouse and to your lawyer in there just in case a problem arises.
Absence and/or tardiness will be taken under consideration by the judge if there’s a question of raising your bail or remanding you into custody after a jury trial.
Harris, Brazoria and Galveston County Courthouses are located in urban areas, and you may have trouble finding a parking spot, especially if you are pressed for time. Always leave yourself enough time to park, pay an attendant or deposit coins in a parking meter and find your courtroom with plenty of time to spare. This will help you to assure your presence in the court at the time your case is called.
View our Legal Tips page for more information.