By Robin Sandoval
If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor, felony, or you have an outstanding warrant, it is imperative to show up for your day in court. If you were released on bail, a “failure to appear” can leave you open to re-arrest and/or being hit with hefty fines. Further, once you break the court’s trust, you may never receive a second chance for bail.
If you have an upcoming court date, it’s important to be prepared to make your best impression in front of the Judge. Here are a few tips on how to put your best foot forward:
Be on time. Pre-scheduled court appearances will always be on the court’s calendar. You cannot re-schedule because of personal reasons, such as a wedding, work duties, etc.
Dress appropriately. This tells the judge you recognize that your appearance is important. Business attire is best, such as a shirt/tie, or skirt/blouse. Casual T-shirts or tank tops are not acceptable.
Eat before you come to court. You may be waiting several hours. Food or beverages are never allowed in a courtroom. As a rule, never chew gum in front of the Judge.
Turn off your cell phone. And remember to never text while you are in court.
Under no circumstances should you bring a weapon. This could be cause for arrest. Additionally, pepper spray is never allowed in the courthouse.
Be respectful and courteous. Always stand when addressing the Judge. Remember to address the Judge as “Your Honor.” Never interrupt the Judge or other party/lawyer.
Courtroom doors generally open at 8:30 a.m. If your name is not listed on the docket, go to the clerk’s window to let them know you’re there. Present the clerk with any paperwork relating to your case, such as case number, copy of citation, bail bond receipt, driver’s license number and/or proof of compliance with a court order. Ask them for a dated receipt.
If you are appearing on a non-calendared case, report to the clerk’s window by 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and wait until you are called before the judge.
Robin Sandoval is a California Licensed Bail Bondsman and owner of SCV Bail Bonds. Robin writes blogs and articles to help increase the community’s awareness of the bail industry. Visit www.scvbailbonds.com for more information or call 661-299-2245.