Do you have a court date coming up? Whether you’re the plaintiff or the defendant, the prospect of going to court can be a scary feeling. If you’ve never been to court before, you’re probably trying to picture every courtroom TV show or movie you’ve ever seen. While those shows try to be realistic, the reality is somewhat different. Also, the way your court date will go depends on the reason for your being there. Here’s what it means to go to court.
You’re Mandated to Appear
Court dates are very serious. You can’t just show up late, or not show up at all. No matter what else is going on in your life, you’re expected to appear in court, on time. If you fail to do so, it’s likely that you’ll be held in contempt of court. Essentially, that means you’ve disrespected the authority of the court, and you’ll be punished for it. The punishment may include a fine, jail time, or both. So be sure that you get to court on time on the appointed date.
You May Appear Before a Judge
A judge will preside over the court proceedings. It’s likely that you will have to appear before the judge. This will mean that you’ll be sitting or standing in front of the judge’s bench. The judge may address you personally, or they may only address your personal injury attorney, depending on the circumstances. In Los Angeles, your personal injury attorney is permitted to speak for you, especially if you’re unable to do so because of your accident.
There May Be Other Cases Inside the Courtroom
You may be surprised to learn that there might be other cases in the courtroom besides yours. Court proceedings are public, so anyone is allowed to sit inside the courtroom while court is in session. There may be other cases before yours, or you might be the first case that’s heard. The court bailiff will call out the cases in the order that the judge wants to hear them. When you’re name is called, you or your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will speak up to indicate that you are present and ready to join in the proceedings.
How to Behave in Court
The court is a very serious environment. This is a place where you should be on your best behavior. This is not the place to make jokes or constantly check your text messages. You should dress up, and comport yourself in a manner that demonstrates respect for the legal process. The judge doesn’t directly make decisions based on how you behave, but if you show that you don’t care one way or the other, that will only make you look bad and make it harder to prove your case.
When going to court, the best advice is to follow your per injury attorney’s lead. Follow their recommendations for how to behave and what to say. Your personal injury attorney in Los Angeles has the benefit of years of experience and knowledge of the law. When you seek legal help for your personal injury case, you’ll be in good hands.