Courtroom Etiquette

Please use the following information to learn the rules, expectations, and etiquette associated with courtroom hearings.

Courtroom Rules

  • Arrive early for your court hearing - Allow enough time to travel to the Courthouse, pass through the security checkpoint, locate your courtroom, and arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled hearing.
  • Dress appropriately - Only wear neat, clean, and conservative clothing to your court appearance. Remove all head gear (i.e., hat, baseball cap, winter hat, etc.) before you enter the courtroom. Make sure you are wearing socks and shoes. Remove sunglasses before entering the courtroom.
  • Sobriety - Avoid using any non-prescription drugs or alcohol for at least 24 hours before your court hearing.
  • Cell phones and pagers - Turn off your cell phone and/or pager. Leaving them on "vibrate" is not acceptable as they still remain audible and are distracting. If a cell phone or pager rings or goes off in the courtroom they may be confiscated by the court.
  • Children - Do not bring your child(ren) to court unless your child(ren) is required to appear by court order, subpoena, or if your attorney suggests this. There is no child care or anyone available to watch your child(ren) in the courthouse and most judges and magistrates will not allow children under the age of 18 in the courtroom.
  • Food and/or drink - No food or beverages are allowed in the courtroom. You are not allowed to chew gum in the courtroom either.
  • Check in - Please check in with the Clerk of Court if a hearing is not in session. Find a spot on one of the benches and wait until your case is called.

Hearing Etiquette

  • Stand when the judge or magistrate enters the courtroom.
  • Be quiet in the courtroom.
  • Stand when you speak to the judge or magistrate.
  • Speak loudly, slowly, and clearly enough to be heard and understood.
  • When the judge or magistrate is asking you questions, use clear and understandable words (i.e. "Yes, your honor" and "No, your honor").
  • Do not interrupt others while they are speaking.
  • Be courteous and respectful.
  • If there is any evidence or information you wish the judge or magistrate to consider, have it organized, with the original for the court and copies for all parties.
  • Write down any questions or comments you may have, so when it is your turn to speak you have them ready.
  • If you don't know whether it is your turn to speak, you may request permission from the judge or magistrate.
  • If an attorney objects to a question, wait until the judge or magistrate states whether or not you need to answer.
  • If you have questions, ask the judge or magistrate.