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How to dress for court

Have an upcoming court appearance?

A lot of people don’t have experience with legal matters.  As such, it’s understandable you may not know what to expect, what to do, or how to act in court.  That’s normal.

Two of the most common questions we get is, “What should I expect in court?” and “What should I wear?”

We’re more than willing to answer your questions and provide you guidance. That’s part of our job.  We help explain the legal system.  We work hard to alleviate your worries about court system and how things work.

As a general rule, criminal defense lawyers often remind clients to:

  • Confirm the time and date of your court appearance several weeks in advance
    • Calling the day of court is problematic, at best
  • Bring your evidence and relevant documents to court with you
  • Tell your defense attorney about recent changes that may affect either you or your case
  • Make sure your legal fees are paid up
  • Call the office to schedule an appointment, phone conference or meeting well in advance 
    • Law offices, like doctor’s offices, are busy places
    • Appointment slots book up early
    • Take a minute, call or email us so we may set aside time to meet with you
    • Trying to speak with your lawyer, last minute, may not be an option

We want to make sure you understand everything about your case.  It’s an honor to serve as a defense attorney, helping people through difficult times – Bill Powers

Suggestions on what to wear to court:

Where is the courthouse in Mecklenburg County?

Google Maps Mecklenburg County Court

If you have pending charges in either Mecklenburg District or Superior Court, the courthouse is located at:

832 East Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court:  704-686-0400

When is my court date?

That is NOT the location if you have pending federal criminal charges.  That’s a separate legal system and courthouse.  State court cases, those prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office in Charlotte, normally involve things like DWI charges, simple assault, assault and battery, drug charges, armed robbery, and even murder or manslaughter.

How is Court Scheduled in North Carolina?

If you have questions about where to go or what to do with your case, seek legal representation immediately.

If nothing else, now this:  It’s imperative you appear in court on the date directed.  It’s also essential that you appear on-time, as an Order for Arrest may be issued if you fail to appear.

What to expect when going to court

The judicial system in Charlotte is often busy.  The courthouse can be a bit disorienting, especially if you have no prior experience navigating the legal system.

As such, it’s a really good idea to plan ahead and leave early.  Anticipate problems with traffic, bad weather, and even parking, which can be difficult to find.

You will also have to go through a security checkpoint, which may take longer than you might think.  That’s especially true if the dockets are full on that particular day.

So we think it’s a really good idea to give yourself a lot of extra time to get to the courthouse, pass through security, and find a seat in the courtroom.   You do not want to miss calendar call.

It also helps to have an attorney standing by your side in court.  We often answer-up at calendar calls, assist in scheduling matters, and determine whether a case has a realistic chance of being called for trial.

Where should I park for court? 

When visiting the Mecklenburg County courthouse, public parking is available at the 4th Street Parking deck.  It’s located at the intersection of 4th and McDowell Streets.

The cost of public parking is not cheap.  Bring money or a credit card with you.

Your parking receipt WILL NOT BE VALIDATED.  At least in Charlotte, there really isn’t much if any free parking.  That’s not true in surrounding jurisdictions at the Union County Courthouse in Monroe or the Gaston County judicial center, both of which have free parking available.

After going through the security checkpoint:

  • Proceed through the lobby to the public elevators
  • Remember what the first number of your courtroom is and head to this floor:
    • Traffic Court, First Appearance Court
      • 1st Floor, Courtroom 1130
    • First Appearance / Video Appearance “In Custody” Court, Probable Cause, Bond Hearings
      • 1st Floor, Courtroom 1150
    • 4th Floor for most Misdemeanor / District Court matters
      • Courtrooms 4110, 4130, 4150, 4170, 4310, and 4330
    • 5th Floor for most Felony / Superior Court matters
      • Courtrooms 5150, 5170, 5310, and 5330
  • If you get lost there are floor directories located in the same location on each floor
  • Confirm you are in the right place by finding your name on the bulletin board next to the courtroom
  • Go into the courtroom and listen to the instructions given by both the Courtroom Deputy and the Assistant District Attorney
    • Courtroom Rules
    • Calling the Calendar
    • How to Answer the Calendar Call

Basic Courtroom Etiquette

  • Turn off your cell phone and any other electronic device(s) before entering the courtroom
  • Refer to the judge as “Your Honor”
  • Be Polite towards everyone you must speak to
  • Be on time! NEVER BE LATE
  • While you are in the courtroom DO NOT:
    • Chew gum
    • Eat or Drink
    • Sleep or Listen to Earphones
    • Wear a hat
    • Read a newspaper

 

 

 

 

 

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