Please take notice of the following rules when appearing in Municipal Court
BE ON TIME
The court doors open a few minutes prior to the session. Officers will perform a security check of all persons entering. The court doors are locked before the judge takes the bench and no one else will be allowed to enter. DO NOT KNOCK ON THE DOOR AFTER IT IS LOCKED. Also, do not inquire at City Hall or the Police Department since they are unable to answer your court questions or allow you in the court room. You will have to wait till the end of the court session to be allowed in to see the Judge.
ITEMS PROHIBITED IN THE COURT ROOM
Items that are not allowed include, but not limited to are:
- Weapons of any kind
- Electronic equipment such as video, voice recorders, or cameras (unless approved by the court)
- Food, beverages, chewing gum, and tobacco
CHILDREN IN THE COURT ROOM
Children are allowed in the court room, but they must remain seated and quiet. Any disruptive children must be escorted to the lobby immediately by a parent or guardian. Be warned that some material presented in court may not be appropriate for children and the Judge may ask for the child to be removed from the court room.
CELL PHONES AND PAGERS
The use of cell phones and pagers in court is strictly prohibited. Make sure any such device is in silent mode before entering the court. The judge may impose a fine for anyone disrupting court with these devices. The judge may also opt to confiscate the device.
DRESSING FOR COURT
If you are appearing in court, you should dress nicely and in a manner that shows respect for the court. Some things you should not wear are:
- Inappropriate t-shirts
- Tube or halter tops /plunging necklines/midriffs
- Ripped or torn jeans
- Miniskirts or shorts
- Baggy pants that fall below the waist
- Muscle shirts (usually worn as undergarments)
If you are not dressed properly, you will be asked to leave the court and return at a later date. This will delay your hearing and require you to appear in court more than once.
TESTIMONY AND ADDRESSING THE JUDGE
The court is a place of order and structure. The judge is there to hear your case, protect your rights, and decide if the prosecution (officer) has proven your guilt. There are a few very important rules to remember when interacting with the judge:
1) Stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom
2) Stand when you are speaking to the judge
3) Speak clearly when you respond to the judge’s questions
4) Always address the judge as “Your Honor”
5) Never interrupt the judge or anyone giving testimony. If you are unsure of what you heard, wait until the judge or other person speaking at your hearing has finished talking before asking a question
6) Enter and leave the courtroom quietly
7) Only approach the bench (judge) when instructed to do so
Part of the judge’s job is to maintain order in the courtroom. Arguments or outbursts will not be tolerated and may result in arrest and additional charges being filed against you.