Frequently Asked Questions About Coming to Court
- Firearms in Courthouses
- What to wear to court
- Children in the courtroom
- Animals in the courthouse
- Additional Information
Q. Are Firearms allowed in any courthouse in the State of Maine?
A. No. Unauthorized possession of a firearm in a courthouse is a Class D crime. 17-A M.R.S. § 1058. A person is guilty of unauthorized possession of a firearm in a courthouse if that person in fact possesses a firearm in a courthouse. It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the person holds a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm issued under 25 M.R.S. § 2003.
Certain groups of people, such as those listed below, may have firearms in courthouses under certain conditions:
- Law enforcement officers, corrections officers or corrections supervisors engaged in the performance of the officer's public duty;
- With prior written approval of the presiding Judicial Officer, a person possessing an unloaded firearm for the purpose of offering the firearm as evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding (a copy of the written authorization must be in the person's possession); or
- Employees of a courier or security service in the course and scope of employment for the courier or security service, as approved by the Judicial Marshal.
If you have information that someone may be brining a gun to court please contact the Office of Judicial Marshals or your local law enforcement agency immediately. A person's life may depend on your call.
A. Court is a place of solemn business. All persons, including lawyers, parties, witnesses, jurors, or spectators are expected to dress in appropriate, neat, and clean clothing.
Shorts, caps and hats (except those worn for religious reasons), tank tops, muscle shirts, halters, flip-flops, and t-shirts with vulgar or profane words, or which depict drugs, alcohol, violence, or sex, are examples of inappropriate clothing.
Lawyers are responsible for instructing their clients and witnesses regarding appropriate clothing.
Tattoos that display drugs, sex, violence, or alcohol may not be visible.
If you are inappropriately dressed you may be asked to leave the courtroom.
We appreciate your cooperation with these guidelines.
A. While it is not prohibited, we recommend that young children not be brought to court. Many court proceedings are not appropriate for children to hear and can be traumatic. Children may cause distraction in the courtroom and interfere with the recording of the proceedings or interfere with a parent's ability to focus on the proceedings at hand. If you are unable to find child care, please try to bring another adult with you who can watch the child/children while your case is being heard.
A. The use of cellular phones and electronic devices is prohibited in courtroom and devices must be turned off before entering an active courtroom. Cell phones may be used in the lobby area. For more information please see Administrative Order JB 05-16 Use of Cellular Phones, Pagers, Computers, and other Electronic Devices in Courthouses.
A. . No. Pets or other animals are not permitted in the public areas of Judicial Branch facilities unless they are service animals. The State of Maine Judicial Branch welcomes your service animal in our public areas. We recognize that accommodation needs vary and that service animals perform a variety of functions. For more information, please review the Judicial Branch Guide to the Use of Service Animals.
Be on time. Allow yourself ample time for traffic, parking and entry screening. Being late for court can result in a default judgment being entered against you, or in criminal matters, a warrant being issued for your arrest.
You must stand when the Judge enters the courtroom and remain standing until the Judge or Judicial Marshal directs you to be seated or until the Judge is seated. You must also stand when the Judge exits the courtroom.
You should always address the court as "Judge" or "Your Honor". Address opposing parties, counsel, witnesses, and court officers by titles such as "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Ms.," "Miss," and "Dr."
Do not approach the Judge's bench without permission.
Do not rest your arms on the bench.
Do not bring any food or drink items into the courtroom.
Do not talk at the same time as the court, opposing counsel, or witnesses. You will have a chance to address the court when it is your turn to speak.
Courtroom visitors should not engage in excessive or loud talking. For safety reasons we ask that you keep your hands out of your pockets when addressing the court.
Do not enter or exit the courtroom excessively and do not slam the doors.
Do nothing to disturb or distract the court, attorneys, witnesses or other court personnel.
Inappropriate conduct that is described above also includes the reception/foyer area, jury room, and/or any office space assigned to the Court.
If you need tips about participating in an electronically recorded proceeding, please visit the Judicial Branch's Web site at http://www.courts.maine.gov/maine_courts/transcription/index.shtml.