Because certain behaviors are noisy, distracting or disrespectful, it is recommended that you not chew gum, eat, read a newspaper, sleep, wear a hat, listen to earphones, carry a cell phone or pager unless it's turned off, have a camera or camera phone. During the hearing you should talk directly to the judge and not the other side, avoid arguing with or interrupting another person, and control your emotions. When you talk to the judge, start by saying "Your Honor". Speak loudly and clearly and remember that only one person can speak at a time. A court reporter or a tape recorder is usually taking down everything said in the courtroom, and can only record one speaker at a time.
Part 2: Arraignment or First Appearance in Court
- Can court staff help me?
- What should I wear to court?
- Where should I go when I arrive at the court building?
- What should I do when I enter the arraignment courtroom?
- What conduct is expected in the courtroom?
- Who are the people in the courtroom?
- What will happen at my arraignment?
- What is bail (or bond)?
- When can I first talk to my court appointed lawyer?
- Can I dispose of my case at arraignment?
- What happens when I talk to the prosecutor (during a break in my court appearance) about resolving my case?
- Can my case be continued?
- What could my punishment be?
- What happens if I am charged with a crime but I am not a United States citizen?
- What is the difference between civil infractions, misdemeanors and felonies?
- What happens if my case is not resolved at arraignment?
- What should I do before I leave court?
- Part 3: Pre-Trial, Trial and Verdict
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