What to Expect in Court

Going to court can be stressful. Knowing what to expect may help victims and witnesses cope with the stress.

Before Court

  • Crime victims should talk to their victim advocate, district attorney or hired counsel (lawyer) before the court date to:
    • Make sure the date and time are correct. Sometimes, hearing dates change or are “held over” or “continued”, this means the date is delayed.
    • Find out what you need to bring to court, such as documents or evidence.
    • Talk about witnesses you would like to bring.
    • Talk about any other concerns, especially safety concerns, you have coming to court. Accommodations may be available to you. 
  • You should also:
    •  Make sure you have childcare for any minor children who do not need to be at court. Childcare is available for you in Denver while going to court proceedings. You can find information about court childcare by calling 720-865-9930.
    • You may want to have a close friend, family member, or other supportive person go to court with you.
    • Make sure you have transportation to and from the courthouse. If you do not have transportation to court, tell your victim advocate, district attorney or hired counsel (lawyer). It is your right to be present and heard during certain critical stages of the process as a victim of a crime.
    • Make sure that you have directions to the courthouse and know where to go in the courthouse. If you are driving, make sure you know where to park.
    • Ask for a contact number for your victim advocate or lawyer that you can use the day you need to be in court.

Arriving at Court

  • Be prepared to go through security. Your bags and personal items will be scanned and may be searched. Common items not allowed in the courthouse are pocketknives, knives, mace, and other items. Do not bring these items to the courthouse.

Safety at Court

Safety may be a big concern for witnesses and victims of crime. If you feel scared, intimidated or threatened, tell a police officer, lawyer, victim advocate or other support person.

In most courts, everyone goes into the court by the same entrance. You may see the accused or their family somewhere inside or outside the courthouse.

  • Talk with your victim advocate, the district attorney, or hired counsel (lawyer) about how to prepare for this situation.
  • Check with your victim advocate or district attorney to find out if there is a secure room where you can wait before you go into court. A secure room may not be available, so you must check first.
  • Protection orders still apply in the courthouse and in courtrooms, so any violations can be reported to the court or the police.

Court Times and Breaks

Court times are different from court to court. Court can take longer than expected.

  • Come prepared with water and snacks for yourself because there may not be food available near the courthouse.
  • Often food is not allowed in the courtroom and must be eaten outside in the hallway or other room. Keep any water and snacks in a bag when you are in the courtroom.

Courtroom Rules

The courtroom is a formal setting. There are many rules and behaviors that are expected. You may want to talk about the specific rules of the courtroom you are in with your victim advocate or lawyer before court. Here are basic rules of most courtrooms:

  • Arrive on time.
  • Turn off electronic devices and cell phones before entering the courtroom
  • Do not use electronic devices or cell phones while court is in session.
  • Be polite to the judge, opposing counsel and court staff.
  • Stand up when the judge and jury come in and leave the courtroom.
  • Stand when speaking to the judge.
  • Do not interrupt others while they are talking.
  • Refer to the judge as “your honor.”
  • Direct all concerns and remarks to the judge and not opposing counsel.
  • If you don’t understand something, ask questions to your victim advocate, district attorney or hired counsel.