Oscar Garcia - Attorney at Law
Hillsboro Criminal Defense Attorney
Guidelines To Follow When Appearing In Court
The How, What & When of Appearing In Court
1. Never Miss A Court Date
- Missing a court appearance is a very bad thing. Most people do not intentionally miss their scheduled court appearance, but either forget about it, show up late, or have the wrong date in their calendar.
- Missing a court appearance will likely result in a judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. In addition, any bail posted for pre-trial release could be permanently forfeited by the court. Finally, missing court could result in an additional criminal charge of Failure to Appear. It is a criminal act in Oregon if you willfully miss a court appearance in a criminal case.
- Sometimes emergencies occur. It is very important that if you find yourself in an emergency situation that prevents you from appearing for a scheduled court appearance, that you contact your attorney IMMEDIATELY. Your lawyer may be able to mitigate this situation and prevent disaster.
2. Always Be Early For Court Appearances
- As mentioned above, if you show up late for a court appearance, a warrant can be issued for your arrest. So it is vital that you give yourself ample time to get to the courthouse. You want to give yourself plenty of time because, as we all know, unforeseen delays can occur. Traffic and parking could be bad that day. Also, most, if not all courthouses, have security in their entrance. This typically requires search of person and going through a metal detector. During a busy court day there could be line of people waiting to enter the courthouse that circles around the entire building. The simple way to minimize these potential delays is to give yourself plenty of time. There is nothing wrong with being there early.
3. Dress Appropriately
- It's important that you dress appropriately for your court appearance. Hats are not allowed in the courtroom. Shorts, flip flops, and logo tee shirts are not appropriate attire for court appearances. It is best to dress conservatively. Also, avoid chewing gum or tobacco while in the court room. Finally, do not have any alcohol in your system or on our breath during any court appearances.
4. Be Prepared To Wait
- Typically, court appearances run on time. Sometimes there may be delays. Even though your hearing may only be scheduled to last a short time, it may take several minutes or hours for your case to be called by the court. So it is wise to not have any other matters scheduled for that day.
5. Turn Cell Phones Off While In The Court Room
- It is very important that you turn your cell phone off or put it in silent mode while inside the courtroom while the judge has taken the bench. Nothing annoys a judge and court staff more than a cell phone ringing while court is in session. It is very important not to annoy or interrupt the judge once the court is in session.
6. Say Nothing While In The Court Room
- It is very important that you not saying anything about your case while waiting in the court room. Typically, all court proceedings are being recorded while the court is in session. Finally, when your case is called by the judge and you are sitting at counsel's table (next to your lawyer), it is important that you not speak until your lawyer says it is okay. At that time, everything is being recorded and that recording is a public record. If a statement is made by you that may damage your defense, then the prosecutor may use it as evidence against you.
7. Always Know Your Next Court Date Before Leaving Court
- If your court appearance is not your last one, then make sure that before you leave the courthouse you know when your next court date is. Write it down and put it in your calendar immediately.