How to Prepare for A Virtual Court Hearing
Texas courts are still closed to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, but that doesn’t mean your court hearing has been cancelled or rescheduled. Pressing and time-sensitive court hearings are being held on video conference sites like Zoom, and many defendants are still wondering how they’re supposed to navigate this unique courtroom experience. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your virtual court hearing in the days and weeks leading to it.
TEST YOUR TECHNOLOGY
If you’ve never used Zoom before, test it on your computer multiple times before your hearing day. Ask a friend or family member to get on a Zoom call with you so you can figure out how it works and get comfortable with the experience.
Make sure your technology is working properly. This includes your headphones, microphone, internet connection, and camera. If you’re going to be using a laptop for the call, keep it plugged in the entire time or make sure your battery can last through the call.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR COURT COORDINATOR
The court coordinator takes on unique responsibilities for virtual hearings. Your coordinator can answer questions you might have about your hearing or the judge, relay messages to your judge, and organize any evidence you email to them. Talk with your coordinator about the process and ask what you need to do with your evidence, paperwork, and any other documents needed for the hearing.
CHOOSE A QUIET AREA
Judges are very picky, and they usually have very little patience for distractions. If you have a loud child or a vocal animal in your home, don’t attend your virtual hearing in the same room as them. Pick a quiet part of your home with no distractions so you can focus all your attention on the hearing. If you have a fan or air conditioner that produces lots of background noise, turn these off before your hearing. As the defendant, you should appear as professional as possible for your virtual hearing, which means cutting out all distractions and disruptions.
BE AWARE OF VIDEO CALL ETIQUETTE
Group conference calls on sites like Zoom have developed a list of rules. Your judge or coordinator might announce these rules before the hearing, but it’s important to be in the know about what you’re expected to do.
First of all, dress nice for the hearing. Virtual court hearings are no less formal than courtroom hearings, so you’re expected to dress the same for both.
When anyone else on the call is talking, put your own microphone on mute. This cuts out background noise and allows everyone to hear what’s being said, and it’s generally a polite thing to do.
Make sure you have decent lighting and a neutral background. Sitting by a window or in a well-lit room with a blank wall behind you can automatically make you appear more professional.
Lastly, stick to the rules when it comes to talking directly to the judge. Always address your judge as ‘you honor’, ask to speak to them directly, and don’t do anything to disrespect them or question their decisions.
TALENTED DEFENSE ATTORNEYS AT DAVIS, ERMIS AND ROBERTS
Davis, Ermis and Roberts is a trusted law firm with talented, experienced attorneys, all prepared to represent you in court. If you have any questions or concerns about your virtual court hearing, we can help. Call or visit our website to get in touch with our team today!