Basic Rules of Court Conduct
When Appearing In Court
- Be on time for court.
- Throw away any food or drinks before entering the courtroom.
- Stand when the Judge enters and leaves the courtroom.
- Stand when you are speaking to the Judge.
- Speak clearly when you respond to the Judge’s questions.
- Always address the Judge as “Your Honor.”
- Never interrupt the Judge or other court personnel. If you are unsure of what you heard, wait until the Judge or other personnel has finished speaking before asking a question.
- Enter and leave the courtroom quietly as to not disturb others.
- Only approach the bench when instructed to do so.
- Turn off all electronic devices (this excludes hearing aids, or any item used for impairment)
The courtroom is a place of order and structure. You should at all times act in a respectful manner when in the presence of the Judge, court staff, Solicitor, attorneys, probation officers, court officers and other persons attending court. Once the court has made a ruling in your case, continue to be respectful as you exit the courtroom and deal with any court personnel. Attempts to disrupt the court before or after the Judge has made a ruling may result in contempt of court charges, fines, and possibly jail time.
Dressing for Court
If you are appearing in court you should dress nicely and in a manner that shows respect for the court. Below are examples of things that you should not wear in court:
- Any clothing depicting violence, sexual acts, profanity, or illegal drugs
- Tube or halter tops/plunging necklines/midriffs
- Ripped or torn jeans
- Mini skirts or short shorts
- Baggy pants that fall below the waist
- Muscle shirts (usually worn as undergarments)
- Please remove all baseball caps or personal head coverings (exceptions made for religious head coverings, or on a case by case basis)
Security Precautions and Prohibited Items
Before entering the court you will go through a security checkpoint. You will be asked to place all items from your pockets, as well as any other items with you, on the x-ray machine conveyor. This may include belts, jewelry, or any other item being brought into the Court. You will be asked to walk through a metal detector and/or an officer will use a wand to check for prohibited items. The officer will search any bags, packages, or personal belongings that will be taken into the courtroom. If you refuse to cooperate, you may be denied entry to your hearing.
Items that should not enter the Municipal Court Building:
- Weapons of any kind
- Cell phones and electronic equipment are allowed, but must be turned off (unless allowed on by the Court)
- Food and beverages
- No large items
- No bags or purses
Children in the Courtroom
Many topics discussed in the courtroom are not appropriate for children and may be hurtful or confusing.