What Should I Expect in Court?
What is most important to know about going to court in Maine?
If you are going to court, it is for a legal matter. You need to take court very seriously. First impressions mean a lot. It is unlikely the judge will know anything about you before you go to court. The judge’s first impression of you is very important. What you wear, what you say, and how you act all are things that impact the judge's first impression of you.
Things to remember:
- Be on time.
- Stay focused on what is happening in court.
- Be respectful toward everyone you meet in court - including clerks, judges, lawyers, and witnesses.
- Dress appropriately.
- Treat court as the important event that it is.
What should I wear to court?
The judge does not expect you to buy any new clothes for court. The judge will expect you to wear appropriate clothes for court.
Appropriate clothes for court include:
- Shirt with a collar and tie (preferably no slogans, words, pictures, or decals)
- Pants (preferably not jeans)
- Dress or skirt that is not too short or too tight
- Shoes that are not sneakers
What is NOT appropriate for court:
- Anything referring to sex, violence, cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol (real or fake)
- Anything with a swear word
- Hooded sweatshirts
- Tank tops
- Yoga pants
- Flip flops
- Miniskirts (more than 2 inches above the knee)
- Shirts that show any part of your belly or your cleavage
- Pants that fall below your underwear
- Untied sneakers/shoes
- Any clothing that is dirty, with holes or with patches
What should I bring to court?
When you go to court you will go through security screening. You should bring the following things to court with you:
- Any paperwork related to your case including the court notice that tells you when to be there and what courtroom your case will be in.
What should I NOT bring to court:
- Weapons, including pocket knives, are not allowed in court and will be confiscated at security.
- Drugs are not allowed.
- Do not bring cigarettes if you are under 18.
- Cigarette lighters may be taken at security.
- If you bring any food or drink to the courthouse, you cannot bring it into the courtroom. You will need to leave it in the hall.
What about my cell phone?
If you bring your cell phone to court, make sure it is on silent or turned off. Vibrate is not allowed since it distracting to the court. If your phone rings in the courtroom, court security may take your phone for the remainder of the day.
How should I talk to the Judge?
How you act will also make an impression on the court. What you say should show to the judge that you are taking court very seriously. Here are some tips for talking the judge:
- Be respectful of the judge and all court personnel at all times.
- When the judge calls your name, stand up and say “Yes, your honor”.
- Any time the judge calls your name, stand up before you reply.
- Stand up anytime you talk to the judge.
- Speak loudly so the judge can hear you.
- Look at the judge.
- If you are asked a “yes” or “no” question, answer verbally. Don’t just nod your head.