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What is Proper Courtroom Etiquette?

If you were recently arrested for a crime in Phoenix or Tempe, you can look forward to a series of court hearings in the near future. At one point, you will be standing before the judge in court and the prosecutor; your defense lawyer will be there as well. Just like attending weddings, funerals, church, or a job interview, you must abide by the standard courtroom etiquette. If you show up to your court hearing late, or in jeans and a T-shirt, or if you answer a ringing cellphone as you stand before the judge, it will NOT help your case.

At the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC, we want to see you succeed in court, which is why we're stressing that first impressions do count. In a criminal case, appearing in court on time, wearing a nice outfit, and being polite to the judge and prosecutor can go a long way. In contrast, wearing dirty or messy clothing, failing to be well-groomed, and being rude to the judge can wreak havoc on a case. What judge will want to be lenient when a defendant disrespects his or her courtroom? We’ve never met one.

Tips for proper courtroom etiquette:

  • Please leave your children at home.
  • Arrive to court early.
  • Shut off your cellphone before entering the courtroom.
  • Wear nice clothing, such as the kind you would wear to church or to a job interview at a bank or accounting firm.
  • Make sure your hair looks nice. If you need a haircut or shave, get one.
  • For the ladies: wear modest clothing.
  • Be polite and respectful to the judge, the prosecutor, and your defense attorney.
  • Do not laugh, smirk, or mock anyone in court.
  • Address the judge as “Your Honor.”
  • Do not interrupt the judge.
  • If the judge interrupts you, stop talking.
  • Stand when the judge enters the room.
  • Do not use foul language.
  • Do not call or text anyone in the courtroom.

When you enter the courtroom, you not only need to dress professionally, but you need to be on your best behavior. If you are loud, rude, disrespectful, or obnoxious to the judge, the courtroom staff, or you lawyer, it will not end well. In that case, the judge may lose their patience with you and be inclined to be hard on you – the opposite of what you want!

As a former Maricopa County prosecutor, Attorney Joshua S. Davidson and seen and heard it all in court. Since becoming a criminal defense lawyer, he always advises his clients on “proper courtroom etiquette” before they go to court, because he wants them to have the best chances of success at their hearings. We sincerely hope you will take our advice, and we wish you the best of luck at all of your appearances.

If you need a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, contact our firm 24/7 to schedule a free case evaluation.