Unfortunately active addiction can often lead to legal trouble, leading to interactions with law enforcement and court appearances. Knowing how to properly conduct yourself during these times is important: it can make all the difference in your case. If you have an ongoing case which will require upcoming court appearances, keep these 5 tips in mind.
#1: Dress Accordingly
First impressions are everything and unfortunately the first thing you are likely to be judged on is your outer image. That’s why it’s so important to dress properly for your court appearances: it shows the judge and others in attendance that you understand the gravity of the situation. Before you even say a word, you want to portray an image of respect and respectability. Some tips for dressing appropriately for court include:
- Tops: no logos or writing, clean and free of holes or stains, at least a quarter sleeve. Button up shirts for men and modest blouses for women are preferred.
- Bottoms: pants should be clean, properly fitted, and secured at the waist; no tears or holes. Skirts should be properly fitting and at least knee-length. If you must wear jeans, select a dark-wash or black pair.
- Shoes: no flip-flops, sandals, or other open-toed shoes. Heels should be simple with a modest heel (less than six inches).
- Accessories: jewelry should be kept to a minimum, wedding rings and simple earrings are acceptable. Blazers and jackets should be clean and well-kept, with no writing or logos. No hats and remove jewelry from any facial piercings (clear body piercing retainers are okay.)
#2: Punctuality= Being Early
If you have prior experience with court appearances, you know that things may not stick to schedule. That’s why it’s so important to arrive early- at least half an hour or so should suffice. This time will allow you to go through security checks (if necessary) and verify and find your courtroom. Once you find it, wait outside quietly until your appointed time. Also, be sure to verify case details with your representative: times, items you may need to present, etc. Being well prepared and early further shows you are accountable and taking the situation seriously.
#3: Be Accountable for Your Behavior
We’ve touched on the importance of accountability in addiction recovery– apply those lessons to all aspects of your life! Controlling your behavior in a court setting prevents situations which may make matters worse. Be respectful: now is not the time to speak or act impulsively. Remember your rights and that any and everything you say can and will be used against you. Consult your representative before you speak if you aren’t certain how it may affect your case. Being smart about how you conduct yourself in the courtroom can go a long way to help the direction of your case.
#4: Think Before You Speak
This tip goes hand in hand with behavior accountability. Don’t allow anger to derail your future; a momentary outburst can lead to years of strife. Stay level-headed and even-tempered.
#5: Stay On Top of Your Court Orders
Staying ahead of court drama goes well beyond once you leave the courtroom. Be sure to follow all court orders to a tee; staying on top of your obligations makes your legal proceedings go more smoothly and in your favor. Proving that you are dedicated to rectifying your mistakes and getting back to moving forward in life can help sway things things in your favor. Your judge is more likely to be willing to work with you and help you if you can show you are serious and accountable.