When it comes to court etiquette, it can be difficult to know when you’re required to appear, what to wear, and what happens if you fail to meet your court obligations.

If the Police issue you with a notice to appear, or you have signed a bail undertaking, you’re generally required to attend court within a couple of weeks. The time, date and place you need to attend will be on your paperwork. This notice will also include what you are being charged with.

Once given your Court date you are expected to appear on that date. Unlike cancelling a hotel booking and losing the deposit, the consequences of failing to appear are more serious,  and can result in a warrant for your arrest, and sometimes further charges. There are exceptions, but you’ll need proof, and how it prevented you from attending. Missing the bus is not an excuse!

An important dress tip for Court can be summed up in this simple rule, no shoes, no shirt, no Court. Essentially, dress respectfully: thongs are not your best option. If you wouldn’t wear it to a job interview, don’t wear it to Court. Putting the effort into dressing modestly, shows you respect the institution of the Court. Sartorial choices aside, the most important way to prepare for court is to seek legal advice. If this is something you cannot afford, Legal Aid offers some basic advice services to give you a better idea of what you can expect. The Legal Aid website provides online information about offences, Criminal Court process and your rights. Additionally, and subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, Legal Aid can provide you with advice. For further information visit their website is https://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Get-legal-help.

Legal Aid also provides a free legal advice service called Duty Lawyer, available at Court on the day of your appearance. The aim of this service is to give you some basic advice about criminal matters and represent you for pleas of guilty and adjournments.

We recommend seeing a solicitor before your Court date, as it can take time to provide you with in depth advice and a clear understanding of your charges and how they can be dealt with to give you the most favourable outcome.

PD Law’s Senior Criminal Solicitor Elizabeth Smith is a strong advocate and comes with a wealth of knowledge. Call Elizabeth on 4946 66670  or make an appointment online at any time by using the “contact us” button on our website www.pdlaw.com.au.