I have Court tomorrow! What do I do?

Hall of Justice in San Jose

What to do when you have to go to court for the first time

Court dates at the Hall of Justice tend to sneak up on people. If you have a court date tomorrow, and you don’t have an attorney, then this article was written for you.

  1. Get to court early.  The doors at the Hall of Justice open at 8:30am.  If you are late to your first court date, you run the risk of the Judge issuing an arrest warrant if they call your name and you aren’t there.  Of course, if you hired an attorney before your first court date, you may not have to attend court at all.

2. Dress appropriately.  Courtrooms in San Jose, Fremont, and Morgan Hill have fairly strict dress codes.  People who are wearing shorts, or tank tops have been kicked out of the courtroom.  It’s best to wear slacks, a collared shirt, and dress shoes.  If you have a tie, or a suit – you should wear it to court.

3. Know what to say, and don’t say the wrong thing.  Your first court date is NOT going to determine your innocence or guilt in your case.  People often confuse Superior Court with TV Court where cases are resolved in one day.  Everything you say in the courtroom can be used against you in your case.  Saying the wrong thing can result in harsh penalties.  The right thing to say is “I want to talk to an attorney.”  Period.  Say nothing else.  Saying that you want to talk to an attorney will not negatively affect your case in any way.

4. Talk to an attorney.  It’s best to talk to a lawyer before your court date.  The attorneys at the Bay Area Law Center are available to talk to you – even the night before your court date, or even the same day of your court date.  Our call center is open 24 hours a day.  Even if you’re reading this at the court house, walk to the hallway and call (408) 816-2311.  We might be able to send an attorney down to the courthouse right away.