Helpful Advice Before Going To Court In Texas

Texas Courtroom Advice for First-time Offenders

Going to court is no laughing matter until you win. Even then, your level of stress and anxiety may at times be overwhelming and cause your emotions to misfire. So how can you remain cool, calm, and collected before you go to court? 

As humans, we have this innate ability to manage our stress level and tap into a powerful and engaging stimulus that influences decision-making processes and risk-taking. This article tells you general information on what to do and not to do before going to court or while in a Texas courtroom.

Remember the courtroom fight that erupted during the murder hearing of Eric McCullough? McCullough was a suspect in a fatal stabbing who was attacked by witness Antwon Lee in 2015? In this case, the jail was locked down, and all inmate movement was brought to an immediate halt. The emotions and threats of additional charges were out of control.

Take for instance "grudge fights" which are simply those pieces of litigation based on raw emotion and in which one or both sides have lost all thought of valid or sensible cost-benefit of the case. 

You may not be facing a life sentence. However, going to court is certainly a time when you want to create a mood within yourself that helps you remain calm to make clear decisions and hopefully find yourself with no additional charges and a lengthy prison term. If it’s a friend or loved one that’s on their way to court, there are helpful tips that can lower their level of stress-related hormones.

The American litigation system is a carefully honed instrument that developed over three hundred years and is constructed to allow the parties to present their cases in a fair and objective forum after each side has had ample opportunity to develop evidence using extensive tools of discovery unique in the world. Its purpose is to create a fair trial and presumes each side can afford it.

Music Can Affect Your Mood and Reduce Your Level of Stress

Happy, upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which evokes feelings of joy, whereas calming music relaxes the mind and the body. Music can change our mood by changing how we perceive the world and invoking specific memories. According to the British Association for Music Therapy, music can help those with psychological, cognitive, or communicative needs.

Adhere To Courtroom Etiquette

Certain behaviors are not allowed because they are noisy, distracting, or disrespectful. You should turn off your mobile phone any electronic devices when you are in the courtroom. Do not chew gum or bring food, drinks, or eat, sleep, wear a hat, listen to music, talk on a mobile phone, take pictures, or carry a weapon in the courtroom. You should enter and leave the courtroom quietly so you do not disturb others.

Don’t Miss Your Court Date

The court is not an appointment that can be missed or rescheduled. If you forget your court date (including being late), there could be severe consequences – your case could be dismissed, or the court could enter a judgment against you. If you have a serious reason why you can’t go to court, you must request an adjournment. In Texas, courts Rule 502.1 states, Except for oral motions made during a trial or when all parties are present, all pleadings, motions, and requests for relief from the court must be in writing, signed by the party or their attorney, and filed with the court. A document may be filed by personal or commercial delivery, by mail, or electronically if the court allows electronic filing.

Representing Yourself in Court

Make every attempt to dress in court as you would probably do when you’re going to a job interview or something you consider very important: if you are a man in slacks and a long-sleeved shirt; if you are a woman, in something nice whether it’s a pair of slacks or a dress or a skirt. It will help if you remember that you want people to take you seriously and so how you dress will affect how people take you.

It’s always good to address the court with respect. So always be very polite to the judge, attorneys, and court staff.  This means, if you are speaking directly to the judge, you should say “Your Honor” or “Judge ......” whatever the last name of the judge is. It would help if you always tried to speak in a controlled fashion. Sometimes emotions are high, but you should try not to become angry or speak in a high-pitched voice, or agitated.

The way you act in the courtroom should show that you respect the court. So remember not to talk to other people while court is going on.

Most people would probably prefer a long walk in the park on a sunny day or an afternoon lounging with friends and family than having to take one step into a Texas courtroom. So it’s vitally important to your livelihood and freedom that you prepare yourself for your court date.  

If you are a first-time offender and need help, you should know that Oasis Center is a faith-based 501© (3) organization that focuses primarily on low/moderate income members of our community; but we are open to all who express the desire for change and make a commitment to attending our life skills and cognitive classes.  

Oasis has a first-time youth offender program and works with several Dallas County Criminal Diversion Court Programs. We operate under the belief that reentry begins at the time of arrest and not just post-release from incarceration.

Through the Oasis coordination of an evidence-based network of service providers who share a common data system, the network provides comprehensive services and programs for all family members of our clients. Our mission is to provide life-changing programs and services to first-time youth offenders and formerly incarcerated persons.

If you have questions or need advice, and live in South Dallas, Collin County, or Houston, visit our website for more information.


Tips for the Courtroom

Courtroom Fight Erupts During Murder Hearing

The Grudge Fight

How Can Music Affect Your Mood and Reduce Stress?

How can music change our mood?

You Asked: Is Listening to Music Good For Your Health?

Tips for Your Day in Court

Texas Justice Court Training Center


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