Tips on Preparing the Day Before Your Hearing
- Do be on time. The earlier the better.
- Do give proper notice when filing a document with the court. Follow the rules when mailing or handing something to the court.
- Do prepare a notebook or file, keep everything related to your case organized. Always keep good notes.
- Do bring extra copies of all important documents so that you can give them to the judge and the other side. Bringing three copies of all important documents is generally a good rule of thumb.
- Do confirm that all of your witnesses will attend and know the correct time and place.
- Do plan on having someone else drive if you have a suspended license. Someone will notice. Make sure to make these arrangements well in advance of your hearing.
- Do keep the court informed of changes in your contact information during your case. (When you move or change your phone number.)
- Do call the Clerk's office for updates or other information on your case. You will need to have your name and that of the opposing party and the case number ready. Don't call the judge directly.
- Don't postpone answering notices from the court - Answer immediately.
- Don’t memorize answers to questions you expect to be asked. It will show and seem unnatural. Others may not believe you. Also, you may forget what you planned to say.
- Don’t lie about anything, not even white (small) lies. If you are discovered to be lying, the judge may find it hard to believe you when you are telling the truth. You may also be given fines or other forms of punishment for lying during your hearing.
- Don't bring sharp metal objects with you to the hearing. You will go through a metal detector. Here is a sample list of objects NOT to bring with you:
- Knives, including a Swiss army knife or other weapon-like objects
- Knitting Needles
- Illegal Drugs
- Many courts do not allow cell phones or cameras. Look up the cell phone policy for your court.
- Don't fax documents to the Court. You must file documents in person (make sure you request a receipt). You can also have someone else take them into the court to file. You may also send the document to the clerk via the U.S. postal service.
- Don’t ignore “interrogatories” (written lists of questions from the other side).
A special project of the Eastern Shore Regional Library under a Library Services Technology Act grant from the Division of Library Development Services/MD State Department of Education (author: Ayn H. Crawley).