When you are summoned to court, you may have questions about how to conduct yourself, especially if it’s your first time in a courtroom. Like any professional setting, there is a particular standard of court etiquette that citizens are expected to abide by, even if they’ve never been inside a courtroom. Not following these rules can have negative consequences for your case and can even get you banned from the courtroom.
From your dress to how to respond when receiving your court judgment, there is a standard for just about every action when inside a courtroom. Many people are nervous and intimidated, with questions like, “How do I talk to a judge?”, and, “In real life, do you address a judge as your honor?” The important thing to remember when in a courtroom is to look clean and organized, mind your manners, and answer questions to the best of your ability.
Court Etiquette Basics
Whether for a surety bond or a felony charge, every courtroom has the same basic set of rules. The standard court dress code is simple – clothes must be clean and they must fit. No tank tops, flip flops, or shorts are allowed and no facial jewelry or hats should be worn. Once inside the courtroom, you are expected to remain seated and quiet. When the judge enters the courtroom you will be directed to rise and then shortly be seated for recognition of the judge. Once this happens, court proceedings have begun and everyone should be quiet, still, and nondisruptive. Causing disruption in a courtroom is never greeted well and can result in fines, charges, and other consequences.
What Can You Take Into a Courtroom?
Generally speaking, you don’t want to take anything into the courtroom that you don’t need for your case. This means that paperwork, photos, evidence, and other documents are acceptable. But it’s a good idea to leave your cell phone, bag, or other personal items in your vehicle. If your cell phone goes off during a court proceeding, you may be removed without having your case heard. In this case, you will have to reschedule and you may face additional fines or punishment.
Can You Eat in a Courtroom?
No. You can never eat in a courtroom. Food is disruptive and can cause allergic reactions and other safety concerns. For these reasons, food is never allowed in a courtroom. If you are diabetic, hypoglycemic, or have other health problems, your concerns should be discussed with the court clerk beforehand so appropriate arrangements can be made.
Can I Bring my Child to Court With Me?
Whether or not children are allowed in a courtroom depends heavily on the nature of the case as well as the rules of the particular court. In most cases, you do not want to bring your child with you to court. A child can become distressed or bored and cause distractions. It’s also not ideal for a child to be made aware of the details of a court case.
Because children can disrupt court proceedings, most felony and even some misdemeanor cases prohibit children completely. In some cases, however, a parent may have no choice but to bring the child. If this is the case, call the courthouse prior to the court date and ask about procedures and regulations concerning children in the courtroom.
Can Anyone go Watch a Court Case?
In most cases, our Constitutional rights allow us to observe any court case that is taking place. However, there are a few exceptions.
- Cases That Involve a Minor: A judge may choose to close the trial for the child’s safety.
- Some Family Law: Especially if the case directly involves a minor, a judge may close the trial.
- High Profile Criminal Cases: Some criminal cases could also be locked to protect the defendant, witnesses, or other participating parties.
- Criminal Cases Involving a Protected Testimony: If a case includes the testimony of a protected witness, the judge can choose to close part of or the entire trial.
It’s a good idea to check with the court clerk beforehand to ensure that the trial you wish to attend is open to the public. When attending a court case as an onlooker, it’s crucial that you follow the rules and do not cause a distraction to anyone in the proceedings. Doing so will get you removed from the courtroom and could end in contempt charges and fines.
If you find yourself on the wrong end of the handcuffs, the Thunder Bail Bonds team can help. Our professionals are experienced and knowledgeable in the Oklahoma bail process and can advise you on the bond process as well as delivering advise on courtroom conduct, and other details to help you be successful in getting your life back to normal. If you or a loved one has been arrested, call us today at 405.235.0002 for help with Oklahoma bail bonds, court etiquette, or other questions you have. We can help your case go smoothly.