What to Expect When You Go to Court

If you have been charged with DWI, you are probably wondering what will happen next. We hope this page will help you know what to expect. We know that you probably have anxiety or shame to deal with, but we don't want you to have to be confused.

Your case will probably take several months or even a few years to handle. You will normally have to be in court for each court date. Coming to court is very important so you will want to arrange your schedule with family, friends, and coworkers in advance as much as possible. Here are some tips you should remember when attending court hearings.

What to Wear

Men should wear a suit and tie whenever possible. If you don't have a suit, choose a conservative pair of shirt and pants.

Women should choose a pantsuit or a pair of business slacks/skirt with a nice top. Flip flops and high heels are not the best choices. Refrain from revealing clothes or short skirts; these might make others think you are not respectful of the court.

Stay away dark glasses, shorts, jeans, and sports apparel.

Avoid wearing clothes or jewelry that have images or words that others might find offensive. Definitely avoid politics.

Excessive jewelry and tattoos may not viewed well. Try to cover tattoos and keep jewelry simple. Some people think that equates to gang style and you would not want them to think that. Think "basic is better."

You will want your attire to communicate to the judge and to others that you take court proceedings seriously.

How to Act

You will want you attire and you mannerisms to reflect that you are respectful and cooperative. Being a defendant puts you in a position of asking the court for the best results. You do not want bad habits or ignorance to get in your way.

Always address the judge as "Your Honor" rather than "Mam" or "Sir." Stand when speaking to the judge.

Speak so you can be heard and understood. Do not mumble.

Only speak when you have been addressed.

Use your best language. Stay away from slang or vulgar words

You will eventually have to make a choice whether to plead guilty to some or all of the charges or maybe a different charge than you have been charged with. Many times a District Attorney will agree to dismiss less severe charges like Speeding, open container, or unsafe movement if you plead guilty to a more severe charge like Driving While Impaired.

Usually a Substance Abuse Assessment and related treatment will be required if you are convicted of DWI. Talk to your attorney to find out if it will help you to complete these ahead of the final court date

A DWI charge can cost thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, legal fees, taxi fees and higher insurance premiums among other expenses. We recommend that you start saving up so your wallet will be prepared. For more information about how your driver license and insurance will be affected, see our page about Driving after a DWI.