Appearing in court can be stressful and nerve-wracking, and it’s natural to want to prepare as much as possible before your day in court arrives. Yet while this preparation can be valuable, you also don’t want to go overboard with it, or else you might end up wasting valuable time that could have been better spent preparing for the actual event of your court appearance. Here are some dos and don’ts for preparing for your upcoming court appearance.
Preparing for your first court date
If you’re going to be in court for any reason—whether it’s your arraignment, a settlement conference, or a trial—you should know what to expect when you get there. Here are some basic tips on preparing for your first court date.
Preparing For Your Hearing
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to know exactly when your hearing is scheduled. That way, you can keep track of your deadlines—if any are set for that day—and bring all necessary documents (e.g., a copy of your lease) with you to court.
Preparing For Trial
When you are ready to go to trial, your attorney will be responsible for ensuring that all evidence has been collected, along with witness names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as dates for when people can be called in to testify. This may require a significant amount of time on both your part and your attorney’s part. For example: Call witness A at 8 am on July 1st – call witness B at 4 pm on July 12th.
Preparing For Traffic School
You’ve been given a ticket for going over or through a stop sign. The ticket will likely cost you anywhere from $50-$200, depending on your county. However, you can avoid paying traffic school fees by attending traffic school instead. As long as you attend traffic school within 30 days of receiving your ticket, you won’t be required to pay these extra fees.
Re-Gathering Evidence After Dismissal
When you’re ready to file an appeal, you should re-gather all evidence related to your case. This is because evidence that was not introduced in court during your initial trial may be able to be used during your appeal.
This is a common misstep made by many people who have been through legal proceedings—they assume that because they presented all their evidence or brought up all of their arguments that they would have no material left over to introduce on appeal.
Keeping Up With the Fines
If you are fined, make sure to pay your fine on time. If you cannot afford to pay in full, ask for a payment plan or payment assistance. A failure to pay your fine can result in additional penalties.
It is recommended that you request copies of all fines from your court ahead of time so that they can be paid directly at court instead of having to be mailed separately. If mailing is necessary, use certified mail and retain a receipt until payment has been made.