Kent County Courthouse
One of the oldest public institutions in Maryland, the Courthouse in Kent County deals with a large number of criminal and civil cases every day. DUI cases are regularly handled here with the Honorable Paul M. Bowman presiding as the County Administrative Judge. The courthouse is located at 103 North Cross Street in Chestertown, Maryland (zip code 21620). Parking can be found curbside along Cross Street in front of the courthouse. The Clerk’s Office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is closed on all major public holidays.
Preparing for Court
Having to go to court for a hearing is a stressful prospect for anyone. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the expectations and protocols of the courthouse you will be visiting before you go. Firstly, it is important to be punctual for your hearing at the Kent County Courthouse. Give yourself plenty of leeway and plan to be there early. The possible consequences of lateness or absence do not just include a harsher legal outcome in your current case; you may also have additional charges pressed against you for failure to appear. Contact the court clerk immediately if you have an emergency that will prevent you from being there on time.
Court Rules and Decorum
Be advised that while electronic devices like cellphones and laptops may be brought into the courtroom, they should remain off while you are there. Taking pictures or recording video during a hearing is strictly prohibited. Court personnel have the right to confiscate any gadgets that disturb the proceedings.
Court protocol centers around showing respect for the courtroom and especially for the judge. Everyone is expected to stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. It is the judge’s role to keep order, so it is only appropriate to speak when you are given permission to do so by the judge. Direct your comments to the judge rather than to the opposing side, and call the judge “Your Honor”. Speak as clearly as possible; everyone needs to hear what you are saying, and the court reporter needs to record your words.
While there are no rules regarding dress code at the courthouse, it is best to dress nicely and modestly as a sign of respect. Don’t bring in food, drinks, gum, reading materials, or headphones. At the end of the hearing, be certain you understand the outcome and what is expected of you next. Respectfully ask for clarification if you are unsure. Emotional reactions or outbursts won’t be tolerated; save them for once you are outside of the courtroom.
Work with an Experienced Defense Attorney
The amount of details and expectations to navigate as you prepare for a DUI hearing can be overwhelming. The most important step you can take in your preparation is to find excellent, experienced legal counsel to support you along the way. A qualified Kent County criminal attorney who is well-versed in DUI cases is the best person to provide you with solid explanations and advice. This will not only reduce the stress involved in fighting your DUI charge, but will also give you the greatest chance for a positive ending to your day in court. Learn more about DUI attorneys in Kent County.