Going to Courthouse in Massachusetts for the First Time – What You Need to Know

Nobody wants to find themselves in court, but it can happen to the best of us. You may be required to appear in court to contest a simple traffic ticket, or for something more serious. In any case, it is in your best interest to convey to the judge that you are taking the matter seriously. Showing respect for the court is crucial to the outcome of your case. Read on for more information about what to do, and what not to do, if you have to appear in court.

Dos and Don’ts in Court

With the help of a skilled MA defense attorney, and by following the tips below, you can significantly improve your chances of success.

  • Dress professionally. As children, we are taught to not judge a book by it’s cover. But court is one place where that advice temporarily goes out the window. First impressions can have an immensely positive or negative impact in court. Dressing professionally and showing up well groomed conveys respect for the judge, and for the matter at hand. You should wear a suit or similar professional attire, and facial hair should be trimmed and neat. Women should avoid excessive make-up and jewelry. Dress as if you are going to a job interview.
  • Avoid speaking without first consulting with your attorney. You have the right to remain silent. Use it to your advantage. In some instances, it may be a good idea to speak, but check with your Boston defense attorney before making that decision. This is true even when the judge is asking you a question.
  • Always be respectful to the judge and courtroom staff. This sounds simple, but it can be difficult to remain silent and respectful when people are accusing you of horrible things, especially when you are innocent. Despite the things being said about you, it is extremely important to avoid responding when you haven’t been asked to do so. Interrupting anyone, especially the judge, is a very bad move. If you’re especially out of line, the judge could hold you in contempt. Always address the judge as “Your Honor,” and address the courtroom staff as “ma’am” or “sir.”
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions, such as phones, food, drinks…and children. Most judges don’t appreciate it when cellphones ring – or even vibrate – during court hearings. And distractions, in general, are unwelcome. Ice rattling in a cup, a wrapper crinkling as you unwrap a candy bar, and the sound of gum chewing or popping can negatively impact your case. This is especially true with regard to bringing children. Yes, children can be a distraction…but that’s not the main reason bringing children to a courtroom is frowned upon. Court hearings are rarely a good place for kids. Subject matter can be highly inappropriate, and even scary, for young ones. Your best bet is to make prior arrangements for someone to care for your children if you have to appear in court.
  • Lastly, show up on time.  There is no faster way to start off on the wrong foot with,Judges, Magistrates, Court Officers than showing up late.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If you have been charged with any type of crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that people make mistakes. Don’t make another one by hiring the wrong attorney. Our attorneys will analyze the details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we will ensure that you understand your rights and options before moving forward. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, your reputation, and your freedom. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.


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