If you’re like most people arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County, you’re a regular person who doesn’t have a criminal record. You’ve probably never been in criminal court before, but you may have been to family court for a divorce or you may have been to bankruptcy court if you filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Our guess is that you’ve never been to criminal court before, but even if you have, there’s no harm in having a little refresher course before you go. We are dedicating a post to courtroom etiquette because the time you go to court, what you wear, and how you behave can all affect the outcome of your case. We want to make a good impression on the judge and the prosecutor, so here’s our advice:
- Before going to court for your first hearing, speak to your defense attorney about courtroom etiquette and what to expect.
- Arrive early! We know how Orange County traffic can be, so don’t risk being late. Even if the hearing is not during rush-hour, a crash can always cause delays. Our advice is to leave plenty of time in advance so you’re not late.
- Leave your children at home. Court is not a place for kids.
- Dress respectively and make sure you have a neat appearance. Dress as if you were going to a job interview at a bank or an accounting firm.
- Before entering the courtroom, shut off your cellphone. When inside court, do NOT go on your phone – this means no checking emails, texts, or social media. It’s disrespectful to the judge.
- Be polite to the court clerk and courtroom staff. If you’re rude to the clerk, the judge may hear about it and your case can be scheduled last.
- Never interrupt the judge. If the judge interrupts you, stop talking and let the judge speak.
- Be calm and never be disrespectful or act angry in court.
- Treat the judge, your attorney, the prosecutor, and all court staff with respect.
- Refer to the judge as “Your Honor.”
- Never miss a court date. If you do, a bench warrant can be issued for your arrest for failing to appear and you can face additional criminal charges.
When you go to a DUI hearing, look nice, be on time and be on your best behavior. If you are late, play on your cellphone, act belligerent, wear inappropriate clothing, or are rude to the courtroom staff, we can almost guarantee it’s going to hurt your case. You only get one chance to make a first impression – make sure it’s a good one.
Related: Alternatives to Jail for a DUI
To fight your DUI charges, contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an Orange County DUI defense attorney!