GOING TO COURT - click a title to learn more
The first step in going to court is determining which court is hearing your case. The best way to do this is to look at the Summons you have received in the mail. First determine whether you have been summoned to the Snohomish County Superior Court, a Snohomish County District Court, or a local Municipal Court. The addresses for each court in Snohomish County can be found in the “Directions” section of this website.

Whether you are appearing in court for a pretrial hearing, trial, sentencing, or probationary matter, it is crucial that you do your best to make a good impression on the judge. Although a suit or professional attire is not required, the courtroom is a very formal environment. Dressing up for your appearance not only shows respect for the court, but influences the way that both the judge and jury perceive you. As a basic rule I would suggest you dress as though you are going to a job interview. If you are a man who owns a suit or professional attire, I suggest you wear it. If you don’t own a suit, try to wear a button up shirt with a tie and some slacks. If you don’t own a tie, wear your best collared shirt with some slacks. If you do not own any slacks or khakis, a clean pair of jeans without holes will work. If you own none of the above, we have a small assortment of courtroom attire that may be available to you depending on your size. Please contact me prior to your court date to determine availability. For women, I avoid making specific fashion suggestions other than suggesting professional or formal attire. Avoid clothing that is too casual or revealing. Again, a small assortment of courtroom attire may be available. Contact my office prior to your court date to determine availability.

The easiest way to make a good impression on the judge in your case is to be on time for any required courtroom appearances. I suggest setting an extra alarm clock on the day of any required appearance, and scheduling your arrival at the courthouse for 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appearance. Please allow ample time for gaining entry to the courthouse as there are often long lines at the metal detectors. Failure to appear or late appearance can result in a warrant, the resetting of your time for trial, and the forfeiture of bail paid.

I tell my clients to turn their cell phone off before entering the courthouse. This will help avoid the embarrassing situation of having a cell phone ring while in the courtroom. Cell phones are very disruptive to the process and judges have very little patience for defendants who disrupt their courtroom.

Personalized ring tones that play while a caller is waiting for you to answer your phone may get you compliments from your friends, but they can often give the wrong impression to the judge. Some courts allow for courtroom presence by phone in certain circumstances. If you know that you may be contacted by the court as part of an appearance by phone, or as part of your probation, it is a good idea to remove any personalized ring tones from your cell phone. In particular, ring tones that contain lyrics that reference drugs, gangs, violence, illegal activity, or general partying.

There are metal detectors at all public entrances to all district and superior courts. To minimize the inconvenience and time spent in line I advise my clients to refrain from clothing that contains metal. I also advise clients to do a pocket check before leaving their vehicle. This will help minimize time in line and prevent any embarrassing incidents at the metal detector.

Whether you are simply appearing before the judge or appearing for trial in front of a jury, it is important to remember that someone is always watching. Juries see everything. A simple yawn can suggest you are not interested. An ill timed smile can be misinterpreted. Body language is important. Try to appear alert, engaged, and non threatening at all times.
Copyright Garza Defense, PLLC 2011 phone: 425-512-1254     fax: 800-630-1024 johngarza@garzadefense.com