Tell the Court the Truth
Video Transcribed: So there was a wreck on the interstate. You’re stuck in traffic, you’re going to be late to court. What do you do? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a dad’s rights attorney in Oklahoma here with Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable, and I want to talk to you guys today about what to do if you know you’re going to be late to court.
So if you know you’re going to be late to court, and it’s a legitimate reason, and I want to preface this by saying it’s got to be a legitimate reason. Being late because you overslept is not a legitimate reason. Being late because you’re hungover is not a legitimate reason. But if it is a legitimate reason, then the first thing you should do if you’re represented is call your lawyer as soon as possible and tell them what’s going on. Tell them the complete picture and approximately what your ETA looks like. If you don’t know, you need to say, “I don’t know.”
If it’s something that’s probably going to prevent you from being there, it’s just total gridlock and you don’t know when it’s going to move or you’re injured or you’re sick or something like that, then you need to tell your lawyer that and you need to explain as much detail as possible so they can make a decision on how to approach the judge. If you’re pro se, typically candor is better… Well, not typically. Candor is always better with the court, with the possible exception of if it is something that is going to potentially make you look bad. And I’ll be clear about what that is. If it’s like you’re late because you overslept, or because you decided to have a quickie, or because you decided to go out the night before and get hammered and you’re hungover, you probably don’t want to volunteer that kind of information to the court.
But I mean, if there’s a car wreck, if you are injured if you wake up and you’ve got 103 fever candor’s better. Tell the court the truth. Now, if you have to contact the court yourself about this, one thing to be aware of is ex parte rules. What that means is, you are not allowed to talk to the judge without the other counsel present. So typically the way we handle that as Tulsa attorneys are it’s usually done in email form and you copy the other counsel in.
In an extreme case, if you have to make a phone call, you call the judge’s clerk and try and get ahold of the other counsel first to say, “Hey, I can’t be there. Here’s why.” Find out what the temperature of the room is, and then call the judge’s clerk. But generally, email is the best way to go if you can do that. But you want to make sure you notify the court as quickly as possible what’s going on, and don’t try to ex parte the judge on that because the judges will not appreciate it.
If you have any questions about any of that for a family law lawyer in Tulsa, then you should go to Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable, and we’ll answer any questions you like.