Best Behavior: How To Ace Your DUI Courtroom Appearance In 10 Steps

Law Blog

Your DUI attorney will undoubtedly employ both experience and expertise to ensure that you are given a fair and just opportunity to obtain justice, but you should consider yourself a vital part of the legal team defending you.The manner that you conduct yourself in a courtroom setting could be a deciding factor in the success of your DUI case, so read on for some quick and easy tips to supplement your attorney's guidance and ace your courtroom appearance.

1. Videos of actual court cases can be found online, so locate some cases similar to your own and study them to familiarize yourself with procedures and courtroom etiquette. It's advisable to seek out educational material that targets your particular state, since procedures vary widely across the country.

2. Dress for success. Appropriate clothing communicates your respect to the court and the seriousness of the situation, so wear your best clothing for this important occasion. For men, stay away from sandals, shorts, sleeveless shirts and head wear (with the exception of religious reasons). Women should avoid revealing clothing. Be neat, clean and well-pressed, even if your wardrobe funds are limited.  

3. You should never bring food into the courtroom, but a bottle of water may be allowable. Do not chew gum or eat mints while in the courtroom.

4. Be sure to address the judge in a respectful and correct manner. Your attorney can advise you on local customs, but normally "judge", "your honor", "sir", or "ma'am" are appropriate forms of address.

5. When questioned, respond in a clear and moderately loud voice so that all parties can hear you. Avoid responding with nods, "yeah", "nope", slang, and mumbles.

6. Watch your facial expressions, even when sitting at the defense table. Judges can and will find you to be in contempt of court for eye rolls, head movements, heavy sighs, etc. This behavior can be especially problematic in jury trials.

7. Answer questions by turning your head toward either the judge or the jury, if one is present. Keep your answers short and clear, and answer only what's asked; do not elaborate unless requested.

8. It's considered extremely disrespectful, and illegal in some states, to approach the judge or speak without permission. Never step down from the witness stand or leave the courtroom without permission and/or the judge's dismissal.

9. Attorneys for the state (referred to as the plaintiffs) may attempt to rattle you with confusing questions, so stay calm and don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Even though appearing in court is a very stressful situation, don't allow your nervousness to result in emotional outbursts. Be respectful toward all parties, regardless of affiliation.

10. Court on your DUI attorney to prepare you for testimony with practice sessions, which will help ensure a smoother experience when on the stand.

Your behavior can play a major part in your courtroom experience, so work closely with your DUI attorney to make this an event with a successful outcome. For more information about DUI cases, contact an attorney such as Hart Law Offices, PC


25 January 2016