COVID-19 has changed many things; Court Hearings are no exception. It is not uncommon for one to receive a Court Order indicating that their Hearing will be conducted via Zoom. If that happens, know that the standard courtroom decorum and rules remain the same as if you were attending in-person. You should appear dressed in business casual. Of course, you may show up in formal attire if you wish. Do not, however, appear in your pajamas and eye mask.
Be sure that you are in an area with adequate reception or wi-fi. You should find a quiet area with sufficient lighting and clear of any background noise. Either turn off your cellular phone completely or turn off the ringer.
In some cases, you may appear via telephone by calling the number provided by the Court. Regardless, you should know both the Meeting Identification Number and Telephone Number well in advance of your scheduled Hearing. Should you have trouble appearing via video, then be prepared to utilize the telephone option.
If you are not familiar with Zoom, it is strongly recommended to practice the day prior to your hearing. Confirm that you have a camera if you are on a computer and test the microphone on your chosen device. Learn where the Mute and Camera functions are located as you will be required to stay muted until your case is called. The Mute button is particularly important as you do not want to call your attorney and begin speaking about your case in front of everyone including the opposing party.
Although appearing via video may feel informal, it is not. It is imperative to remember that you are still in Court. The Judge will be present, and a hearing will be conducted. If you are testifying, you will be sworn in. In other words, you will be under oath. Know that you are prohibited from recording the proceedings. In conclusion, treat your Zoom Hearing the same as your in-person hearings.