What Happens When I Go To Court?
If you are in jail you will be brought to the court on the jail chain (inmates are brought to the courts in groups through secured access tunnels). You will not be brought to court on your own request, but at the request of the court or the attorney representing you. In most courts this occurs within two business days after your arrest. If you are not brought down to the court or notified that an attorney has been appointed to your case, then you should request the sheriff in the jail allow you to send a kite to the court. (A kite is a form available to inmates in the jail which allows them to contact the court directly without going through the regular mail procedures.)
If you are set for a jury trial you will be dressed out in the clothes you were booked into jail in. Family or friends may bring you proper street clothes for the trial (see discussion of proper clothes below). The clothes should be taken to the jail, and the sheriff will keep them there until needed or your attorney will be able to give them to you the day of the trial. At all other times when you are brought to court you will be dressed in jail whites.
If you are on bond you will be notified by mail (at the address you gave the jail when you were released) as to which court your case has been assigned, the court date and the time you are to appear. On your court date, you should go directly to the court. Each court posts a docket sheet in front of the courtroom. The docket sheet lists the name of each person who has a court setting on any particular day, the name of their attorney and the type of setting (announcement, plea, trial). You must be in court on the day and time instructed or the court may forfeit your bond and issue a warrant for your arrest. (Bond forfeiture means that you lose the money that you have posted as a guaranty to the court that you would appear on the setting date.) Some courts require that you come inside the courtroom, while others will tell you to remain in the hall directly outside the assigned courtroom until your name is called by the court bailiff o If you don’t know where to go, it is always best to enter the courtroom and check in with the court bailiff or court coordinator.