What to do when you have to go to court

By Jedidiah McKeehan

Going to court is not something that most individuals do on a regular basis.  So when they actually do have to go to court there is often anxiety and nervousness about where to go, and what to wear.  Here are some tips.

Where to Go:

One thing I recommend, especially in Knox County, is to drive by the day before court so you know where the courthouse is and where you plan on parking.  In many counties, parking is free, but not in Knox County.  You will have to pay.  Also, some courthouses are harder to find than others.  If you are having a social security disability hearing in Knoxville, that courthouse is tucked on a backroad in Bearden that is almost impossible to find, even with GPS.

When you get in to the courthouse, the clerk’s office or a bailiff will be able to tell you in which courtroom you should be.

What to Wear:

Please do not wear pajama pants!  It’s unbelievable the number of people who come to court wearing something entirely inappropriate.  Do not wear shorts.  Most judges will not allow you in the courtroom if you are wearing shorts or they will make you put on inmate pants in order to come in the courtroom.  That’s not exactly the image you want to portray.

On the other hand, I do not typically recommend wearing a suit.  It comes off as too desperate.  If a judge sees someone wearing a suit, they assume that person is an attorney, or on trial for murder.  Seriously.  Wear something professional, but not desperate.

How to Act:

I wish I could say be on a good behavior and be done with it, but some people need more direction.  Turn your cell phone all of the way off.  If you don’t, the Judge may take it and fine for you to get it back… at the end of the day.  Do not fall asleep.  Do not interrupt the judge when you are before him and he’s talking.  Call the Judge, “Your Honor.”  Under no circumstance go past “the bar” without being requested to do so by the Judge.

 

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.

 

 

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