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Courtroom etiquette plays a huge role in how others perceive you and therefore may have a significant impact on your case's outcome. From body language to attire, you should always conduct yourself in a respectful and professional manner. 

Here are six tips on how to behave during your court appearance in order to make a good first impression.

Dress the Part

One of the first things that people notice about you is what you're wearing, and this is no different in a court trial. It's important that you dress modestly, as this conveys a sense of respect for the court members, including the judge and jury. 

Men should opt for a suit and tie or a dress shirt and slacks, while women should choose a conservative dress or pantsuit. Avoid loud colors, heavy jewelry, or inappropriate footwear such as sandals or sneakers. 

When selecting an outfit for your court appearance, think about what you would wear to an important business meeting or job interview.

Beware of Your Body Language

Body language can often speak louder than words. Therefore, ensure that you stand with proper posture and maintain eye contact with the judge and other court members. This can demonstrate that you're attentive and interested in the proceedings. 

Try to abstain from fidgeting in your seat or excessively moving your hands when speaking, as it may make you appear distressed or overly emotional. 

Additionally, be mindful of small responses or gestures that you may make without even realizing, such as rolling your eyes, frowning, or crossing your arms.

Address Court Members Appropriately

Before your court trial, familiarize yourself with how to refer to various members of the court. Unless otherwise instructed, address the judge as "Your Honor" to show proper respect. 

When referring to other court members such as bailiffs and lawyers, always use Mr. or Ms. If you're unsure of how to address someone, be sure to ask a court attendant prior to your trial.

Answer Questions Clearly and Honestly

When it's your turn to speak, be sure to stand up before addressing the court. It's important that you speak loudly, clearly, and slowly to ensure that the court reporters in Portland, Oregon can accurately transcribe your responses. 

Mumbling or speaking too quickly can make you appear unsure of yourself and create a negative impression on the judge and jury. If you don't understand a question, don't be afraid to ask for clarification. 

It's better to ask for an explanation than to provide an untruthful answer. Lying under oath is also known as perjury, a serious criminal offense that can carry up to five years in prison.

Remain Calm

Although appearing in court can be an emotional experience, it's critical that you remain calm and avoid showing too much emotion. Becoming angry or hostile can make you appear unprincipled and temperamental, which may weaken your case. 

If you find that you can't control your emotions, you can ask the judge to call a short recess so that you can collect yourself. 

Asking for a break is much better than creating a scene in the courtroom, as a judge can hold you in contempt of court for doing so. Therefore, be sure to refrain from using derogatory language, being disrespectful to the judge, or raising your voice.

Be Punctual

Knowing how to behave in court is essential, but arriving on time is the first step in making a positive first impression. 

Be sure to leave earlier than you need to in order to account for possible traffic delays or difficulty finding a parking spot if it's a particularly busy day at the court. Being punctual conveys respect and can increase your chances of a beneficial outcome.

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The importance of courtroom etiquette can't be overstated, as it can have a significant effect on your case's verdict. Use these six tips to ensure that you conduct yourself in a polished and polite manner during your court trial.

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