In my view, there are too many people that attend court in the same manner they would WalMart. Some folks look like they just crawled out of a dumpster, others are intoxicated, while some folks take on an attitude. Folks need to show respect for the U.S. Constitution and the rights it provides by attending court in clean, nice clothes, and be properly groomed. If you are a defendant on a case, you are being judged the minute you step into a court room, so a clean appearance goes a long way towards your benefit. If you are going to ask a judge for a little more time to pay a fine, for example, he or she may be more apt to provide you that extra time when you appear presentable. Those that step up before the judge and look unkept, chances are, the judge will not provide extra time when needed. So it is in your best interest to show up to court, clean, well dressed and groomed.
Do not drink or ingest any drugs before attending court. Seems obvious but you would be surprised how many folks arrive to court intoxicated. As an attorney, I become a spectator once my client fails a court-ordered alcohol or drug test on the day of court. Judges become infuriated when a defendant is intoxicated. They see it as the ultimate sign of disrespect and will throw the book at the poor drunk sod. Recently, I was representing a client on a DUI case. At 8:30 a.m., the client had red glassy eyes and smelled of alcohol. I asked him if he drank prior to attending court. He said no but admitted to a few drinks the night before. I became worried because one of the first things the judge will require on a DUI case is an alcohol test. When we stepped up before the judge, the prosecutor wanted to throw the book at my client because he also had a charge for beating his daughter (which he claims he did not do). As a result, the judge ordered an alcohol test to be performed that day. I figured my client was drunk and stalled until noon when he took the test and blew a 1.34 when the legal limit is just .08. My client must have drank a bottle or two of vodka before court. I was amazed he was able to stand. We were required to go back before the judge where it was reported he blew the 1.34. The judge wanted to place my client in jail. I argued on his behalf and was able to negotiate a stay on jail and was able to schedule another alcohol test later in the week. However, the judge would not allow my client to leave the courthouse until he sobered up. As a result, he had to sit next to a deputy in the courthouse until 5 p.m.
I have had other occasions where my arguments fell on deaf ears and my clients were locked up for being intoxicated. The lesson here, is the obvious one, that no one should attend court under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The secondary lesson is that if you receive a ticket for DUI, you must give up alcohol and drugs because you will be tested at some point and a failure of that test could result in jail time. There are consequences to the reckless use of alcohol and the illegal use of drugs. In my book, it is not worth losing your freedom and being sent to prison -- so don't do it!
As far as attitude goes, keep in mind you are in a special place when you are in the courthouse -- the home of the U.S. Constitution. This isn't a back alley or a tavern, so use respectful language and make sure you are cordial to court personnel. The Sherriff's deputies are in the courthouse to keep it safe. So you will be searched and you and your possessions must be screened. There is no reason to provide lip service to a deputy. They do not have to let you into the courthouse. If you are in court on a traffic ticket and you mouth off to a deputy, who then kicks you out of the building, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest when you fail to appear on your traffic ticket. Why fool around this way? Keep your mouth shut, do what the deputy asks, appear before the judge and be done with it. No matter what you think, neither you or I are more important than anyone else and we must all take heed to the deputies when entering and visiting a courthouse.
Lastly, I want to address nerves. Yes, it can be scary entering a courthouse and knowing the folks there have the power to place you in jail. However, being overly worried and nervous about the consequences will not help you. Everyone is entitled to "due process" so you will not be thrown in jail without a proper hearing. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you hire an attorney before attending court, to make sure you a fully protected. If you hire me, Attorney Anthony B. Gordon, I will fight tirelessly for you to ensure we get the best possible result. I am an individual attorney, not some cold giant law firm, so I provide grass roots legal service at a reasonable fee. Click the "Contact" tab above and send me a message and we can begin working on your case.