Following the Basic Rules of Courtroom Etiquette May Improve Your Outcome

- Lotze Mosley

At Lotze Mosley LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland pride ourselves in being prepared for each of our client’s court dates.

Whether it is an initial hearing or the final day of trial, we are fully prepared to pursue the best outcome for our clients’ unique circumstances. And while that means something different for each defendant, following the basic rules of etiquette may improve how the courtroom views you and your case. 

Tips for Presenting the Best You Inside the Courtroom

Court appearances are designed to hold defendants accountable for the alleged unlawful activity for which they have been charged. Criminal charges can range from many activities, including a DUI to drug crimes and fraud to violent crimes, and beyond.

Each case will unfold with the prosecutor filing charges against the defendant, the criminal defense attorney fighting for their client’s best outcome, and a judge and/or jury carefully observing as they listen to and weigh the evidence.

The facts, evidence, testimony, and arguments associated with the crime will speak for itself, but the impression you make on the courtroom could sway their view on how they see you and what type of punishment you may or may not deserve.

In a criminal courtroom, perception is reality.

To ensure the people inside the courtroom view you more favorably, remember to:

  • Be On Time.

Always be on time for your court appearance.

When you are prepared and promptly appear in front of the judge when called upon, it reassures the judge, jury, attorneys, and court staff that you respect the legal process and their time.

  • Check Your Appearance.

When appearing in court, it is important to dress appropriately and conservatively, as if you were attending a religious ceremony or job interview. Do not wear a hat, jeans, revealing or ripped clothing.

  • Address/Respond to the Court Politely and Respectfully.

With an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side, you may not have to say anything at all inside the courtroom. However, if you are directly addressed by the court, always respond respectfully by calling the judge sir, ma’am, or Your Honor.

Never speak unless directly spoken to or with permission.

Avoid using inappropriate language, gestures, or engaging in angry outbursts or arguments.

  • Follow All Courtroom Rules and Directives.

Showing respect for the criminal justice system, the court, and the judge will go a long way during your case.

Follow all directions inside the courtroom, including:

    • Turning off your cellphone before entering
    • Never chewing gum, eating, or drinking while waiting for your case to be called
    • Standing promptly when ordered by the bailiff, and remain standing until the judge orders you to sit
    • Know your case number, the charges against you, and why you are in court
    • Provide your attorney with any outstanding documents to help your case

If you are facing serious criminal charges in Washington D.C. or Maryland, contact our criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP today by calling (202) 393-0535 to discuss your case, so your rights are protected, and you are well prepared before your court date arrives.