Preparing for your first court appearance isn’t an easy task.

It’s uncomfortable and stressful if you don’t know what to expect. Whether you’ve been charged with a DWI or are facing criminal charges, we know being tied up in court is not on your list of things you’d like to do this summer.

Ludlum Law Firm has over 50 years of courtroom experience, so we know what it takes to be successful in court. Here are some handy tips to help you get through your trial.

Speak with your attorney before your court appearance. 

Court procedures vary from county to county in North Carolina. Make an appointment to talk to your attorney about what to expect.

Your lawyer will understand the court’s process and let you know what is expected of you when you show up.

Get yourself organized. 

You will want to be as prepared as possible for your first court appearance. Getting everything in order will help ensure that you do not miss anything. Here are some actions to consider:

  • Be sure to read everything your lawyer has sent to you. This is especially important if there are specific court orders you must follow based on your case.
  • Make sure all needed documentation is in order and prepared before your date.
  • Ensure you have everything you need from your attorney.

Bonus tip: Keep all of the items you need for court safe and organized in a binder or folder. That way, all of your documents and information are readily available the moment you need them.

Get familiar with the court’s location beforehand. 

Arriving late to your hearing doesn’t help you or your case. If you’re uncertain about the court’s location, we recommend taking a trip before your court date to familiarize yourself with the route and surrounding traffic.

If traffic is heavy, make sure to leave early to arrive on time. Also, find out where to park ahead of time. Look for nearby street parking, off-street parking, or if there is a nearby parking garage. In order to find parking, find your attorney and get prepared, we recommend you arrive 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

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Get a good night’s sleep. 

When appearing in court for a hearing, it’s critical that you are alert and aware of what’s happening. Getting at least eight hours of sleep will help you remember key details and keep a clear head during the trial.

Plan your outfit ahead of time. 

Believe it or not, appearance matters in court. Think business professional — khakis, dress pants, a skirt, a button-down shirt, or a professional blouse.

It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the courthouse is dressed casually. You want the judge to know you’ve come prepared for court and taking the trial seriously.

Arrive early and meet with your attorney. 

As noted above, make a plan with your attorney to meet at a designated time and place before your trial. This allows you to ask any last-minute questions, and it helps everyone stay on the same page once the court is in session.

Take advantage of your time when waiting. 

Your trial date may be a busy day at the courthouse. If you’re waiting for your court appearance, use that time to talk more with your lawyer about your case.

It’s your attorney’s job to make sure you feel confident going into court, so make the most of the time together beforehand.

Know how to speak during your trial. 

This is your chance to convince the judge that your position is correct in the case. Your constitutional right to remain silent extends to court appearances.

Do not say anything in court without first consulting with your lawyer. Answer any questions the judge may ask, but do not deviate from the interrogation and include unnecessary information. Speak slowly and calmly to display confidence and hold the court’s attention.

Your first-time court appearance is easier with a trusted advisor.

At Ludlum Law Firm, our mission is to make sure you feel self-assured and prepared for your trial. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, resourceful, and ready to fight for you when court begins.

If you face an upcoming court date in Sampson County or Duplin County, we want to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.