Court, to many, is a new experience. With new experiences there is often anxiety and worry that accompany such an experience. The following are general tips related to court appearances. This blog is not intended to be a substitute to hiring a lawyer to properly assert or defend your interests:
- It is recommended that you hire an experienced lawyer if you don’t have a lawyer already. You are at a disadvantage if you do not have a lawyer, because lawyers have the skills, knowledge of the law, and the expertise to help you get the best possible result. Persons that are not lawyers that represent themselves are held to the same standard as a lawyer. The same rules of procedure and rules of evidence apply. Persons that are indigent can request a public defender for criminal cases and child protective services parental rights cases.
- Make sure that you are aware of the time and location for your court hearing. Failure to appear, or not appearing timely, can result in a bad result. For criminal cases not appearing or being late can result in a bench warrant. For civil cases, the failure to appear or appearing late can result in a negative result, and in some cases even having a judgment or order entered against you. Make sure you are aware of rush hour traffic, construction, or other issues that may delay you. If you are going to be late, make sure you call and discuss it with your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, contact the court. The court may or may not excuse your tardiness. If you have a criminal matter and you do not have a lawful ability to drive an automobile it is advisable to find a ride or alternative transportation. Many courts inquire as to how you got to court – especially if it is related to a bond condition.