On the Day of the Trial

If you are summoned to appear in court, you should arrange to be available for the entire day. It is difficult to determine how long you will be in court because you may be excused, or you may be needed for more than a day. Often victims and witnesses must wait until preliminary procedures are completed, and in that event, you should eat before coming to court and remember to bring any medications that you are required to take throughout the day.

Cellphones, computers, cameras, radios, electronic devices, food, beverages, weapons, and large bags are not allowed in the courthouse and will be confiscated.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is charged with maintaining the security of the courthouse. Any questions regarding permissible items should be directed to the OPSO at 504-822-8000.

If you need disability assistance or other special arrangements made for the day of your testimony, please call OPDA’s Victim/Witness Division at 504-822-2414. If the case is in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, please call 504-658-9500.

Tips for Appearing in Court

  • Wear appropriate clothing to court

  • Before testifying, try to recall information accurately in your mind.

  • Business attire is recommended. Many judges have strict rules prohibiting such clothing as shorts, tank tops, and novelty T-shirts.

  • Avoid distracting habits such as chewing gum.

  • Stop speaking immediately if the judge interrupts you or an attorney makes an objection.

  • Allow time for traffic and/or parking delays.

  • Be truthful and answer questions to the best of your memory. Do not exaggerate.

  • Speak in a clear, loud voice that can be easily heard by the judge, attorneys, jury, and court reporter. Nodding your head is insufficient. Remember, you must articulate your response for the court record.

  • Listen carefully and answer only the question that is asked of you. Do not volunteer additional information.

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled court appearance

  • Do not give conclusions or opinions unless asked to do so.

  • Notify your case prosecutor or victim/witness advocate immediately if you change your address or phone number. Call our office to reach OPDA personnel.

For support, please call our office.