Don’t go to your court date unprepared. Here are 10 things you need to know before your day in court.
1) Read Everything
You should have received correspondence in the mail regarding your court date. Read all of the paperwork carefully. You need to know what paperwork you must have with you and any procedures you must follow. Having a thorough understanding of everything that was sent to you will help your court date go smoothly.
2) There are Costs
There are often court fees that must be paid on the day of your court date. If you are not able to pay these fees, you may be able to file a waiver. It is best to know ahead of time what the costs will be and how you will pay them.
3) Hire Legal Help
The legal system is challenging. The procedures and legal jargon are tough to navigate when you are not accustomed to it. You will want to consult a lawyer to see if they can assist you with your case before your court date.
4) Dress Appropriately
Always dress professionally when appearing in court. It will lend to your credibility and help you feel more confident.
5) Arrive Early
Get to the courthouse early. You do not want to be late for your hearing. Plan plenty of time for traffic, parking, and finding your courtroom.
6) Prepare for Heightened Emotions
Once your trial is underway, depending on the situation, you may become angry, sad, or distressed. Try to control your emotions. An outburst will not help your situation.
7) Court is Not Like TV
Courtroom dramas are designed to capture an audience. Real legal proceedings can be lengthy, detailed and will not have plot twists. Don’t expect a spectacular show during your trial.
8) You May Not Win
People often don’t like to consider it, but the justice system may not decide in your favor. What is your plan if you don’t win your case?
9) Consider Mediation
Mediation can be a much more cost effective way to come to an agreement between two parties. Before going through the expense of a trial, see if mediation will work in your situation.
10) Special Needs
Call the court ahead of time to inform them of any special needs. Often they can provide an interpreter if one is necessary. They should also be able to accommodate any physical needs. It is challenging for courts to be helpful when they do not know your needs in advance.
For more information the Rhode Island Judiciary provides a list of important phone numbers and specific instructions for your court day.
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