Going to Trial

Q:What happens if I don’t want to have a court trial?

A: Your attorney will negotiate the best possible settlement of your case and recommend that you accept it.

Q: Where is the result of the trial recorded?

A: In the case of civil trials, unless otherwise ordered by the judge, all verdicts are available to the public and are retained by the district clerk’s office.

Q: Do I have to attend court throughout my trial?

A: Yes, without exception.

Q:How long will the trial last?

A: Each case is different, as the length of a trial depends on many factors, some of which include the number of witnesses to testify, the number of parties to the suit, the number of exhibits to introduce into evidence and the court’s schedule.

Q: What time does trial start?

A: Each court sets its own schedule. Most courts begin their trial day between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. each day. A safe rule of thumb is plan to arrive 30 minutes early every day.

Q: How do I get to the courthouse and where can I park?

A: When it is time for you to go to the courthouse, your attorney and/or his or her staff will make sure you know where to go, how to get there and where to park.

Q: What sort of clothes should I wear to court?

A: That always depends on the type of case being heard by the jury and the county where the case is being tried. As a general rule, however, it is best to dress in such a way to show respect for the court. This usually means a suit or coat and tie. However, in some counties, slacks or pants and a clean, pressed shirt are acceptable. Jeans, shorts, tank tops, t-shirts and sandals should never be worn to court.

Q: Can I talk in court?

A: No, you may only speak to your attorney, except when testifying and when asked a question by the judge.

Q: Are we permitted to eat and drink while in court?

A: Generally, no. Some courts allow water at the counsel table; others may allow canned non-alcoholic beverages. Food is never allowed in the courtroom. The rules of each court dictate which, if any, beverages are permitted in the courtroom.

Q: Why shouldn’t I speak to the members of the jury?

A: Everyone except the court’s bailiff is prohibited from speaking with the jurors. This includes offerings of food, drinks, gum, sweaters, coats, and the like, and applies to all parties, including attorneys and their assistants, witnesses, spectators, etc.