How to Prepare for Court Appearance

A Guide to Representing Yourself in Court

You are scheduled to appear in court. You will be appearing in court without an attorney. You are not alone - every year more people are doing the same thing. The courts may seem complicated and confusing, but there are many resources to help you. This Web page provides general information that will help you to prepare for any kind of court appearance. Preparation ahead of time will help the judge to understand your case and to make a fair ruling.
Kern County Law Library iPodcasts / Videos

Family Law Access Project (FLAP)
Through collaboration and funding with Equal Access Funds, the Kern County Superior Court and Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc. offers workshops on Pleading Preparation and Mediation and Presenting Your Case At Court.
All FLAP workshops and walk-in services are provided by trained paralegals and supervised by the Family Law Facilitator, at the Office of the Family Law Facilitator, Kern County Superior Court, Metropolitan Division - Justice Building, 1215 Truxtun Avenue, 1st Floor, Bakersfield, California.

Court Appearance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is appropriate in court?
Court is a business type of environment. Dress as if you are going to a job interview. Be clean and neat. Shorts, tank tops and flip-flop sandals are not allowed. Chewing gum, food, drinks, tobacco, etc. is not allowed in the courtrooms.

When should I arrive at court?
You need to arrive at the courthouse at least 30 minutes before your scheduled court appearance. It is very important that you allow plenty of time to park and find your assigned courtroom. If you are not in the courtroom when your case is called, the judge may dismiss your case, make a decision without hearing your side of the story or issue a warrant for your arrest.

Where should I park?
Parking space is hard to find near the courthouses in downtown Bakersfield. Allow plenty of time to locate parking and to find the courtroom where your case is scheduled. A train runs adjacent to both downtown courthouses which may cause a delay.
Some of these spaces are designated for a limited time. Cars that are parked longer than the posted time limit will be ticketed.
Handicapped parking is available on the street in front of 1415 Truxtun Avenue. There are also handicapped spaces available in all parking lots.

What about court security?
It is illegal to bring weaponry into the courthouse. Law enforcement officers will scan your person with metal detectors as you enter the courthouse. Any metal object on your body must be removed and inspected, including belt buckles, steel-toed shoes, and all phones.

How do I find the correct courtroom? If you need help in locating your name, ask for help at the court information booth. Once you are in a courtroom contact the Sheriff's Deputy (the bailiff) in the courtroom if you are not sure that you are in the correct courtroom, or if you need to leave briefly for any reason.

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Dependency video
Delinquency video
For a short informational video please see www.kclawlib.org/media