Attorney Jameika Williams Mangum

*As a former prosecutor, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the courtroom experience on a daily basis. The comings and goings of the courthouse are quite intriguing to say the least.

There are your “regulars” who seem to pick up new cases as soon as they leave the building. Also, you may come across “first-time offenders,” who may never re-offend.

But this week’s column is aimed at those who seem to ignore the unwritten courtroom rules.

Do Not Wear Alcohol Related T-Shirts to Court
Although it may sound as if I am stating the obvious, some individuals have appeared for their Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) cases wearing alcohol advertisements on their t-shirts. Proper attire is important in the courtroom, and showing the judge and the prosecutor how much you love beer, when charged with an alcohol related offense, may not be a great idea.

Do Not Appear in Court While Intoxicated
This happens more than people realize. On any given day around 9:00 a.m., John Doe comes into the courtroom after having a few beers. Well, when John approaches the bench, the judge smells the odor of alcohol. The judge then asks John whether or not he has consumed alcohol this morning. After John denies the consumption, a breathalyzer test is ordered. The breathalyzer results show that John is over the legal limit. John is held in contempt, and sent to jail.

You Should Arrive Early
In criminal matters, a warrant may be issued if a party fails to appear in court. If you arrive after your case has been called, you may find yourself requesting that a warrant be quashed. It is in the judge’s discretion whether to execute or quash the warrant.

Your courtroom experience will vary depending on the judge. But the above listed tips should assist in making your experience a little smoother.

Jameika Williams Mangum is an Attorney at the Mangum Law Firm, LLC in the Chicago area. The Mangum Law Firm, LLC is a general practice firm with a focus on Criminal, Civil, and Family Law. For more information, please visit

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