Do’s and Don’ts of Court Hearings by Zoom

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many court systems have changed to an online video conferencing format using Zoom. Because of this, your home, office, car or any place with a reliable internet or wi-fi connection becomes an extension of the courtroom. Detailed below is how the court expects you to act during a Zoom call and how to log into Zoom.

How to log into your Zoom Hearing:

  1. On your device please use the link https://Zoom.us/ and click join a meeting in the upper righthand corner.
  2. This will take you to a page that reads Join a Meeting. Your attorney or their assistant will send you the Meeting ID and Password information before your hearing. This may be contained in a formal Notice of Hearing. The information in that e-mail will contain your Meeting ID and Password.
  3. After you enter the Meeting ID and click “Join,” a new page will appear that will ask you to enter your Password. If you do not already have a Zoom account, this page will ask you to enter your “username.” Please enter your full first and last name into the username box. Then enter the Password your attorney sent you.
  4. If you already have a Zoom account, please double check that your username is your full first and last name in your account profile.
  5. You may be taken to a waiting room or pulled directly into the hearing. If you are put into a waiting room, there is no need to panic.  You will be pulled into the hearing when the court is ready for you. Please be aware that the court system sometimes does not run on time and you may be waiting for a while.
  6. When you are pulled into the hearing, the Judge or Commissioner may or may not mute you. We ask that you mute yourself during the hearing. The mute button is in the bottom left hand of the screen and looks like a microphone If you need to contact your attorney during the hearing, please e-mail them as they will have their e-mail open during the hearing.
  7. If you have any concerns during this process, please call our office and someone will be more than happy to assist you.

Zoom Do’s:

  1. Do log into Zoom at least 10 minutes early to your hearing to make sure your username is your first and last name and to test your audio and visual connection.
  2. Do ask someone from our office to do a practice run of your hearing If you are unsure on how to use Zoom.
  3. Do make sure the device that is connected to Zoom is fully charged or you have access to a charger during your hearing.
  4. Do dress like you would if you were going to the courthouse.  Please note – this includes pants! Would you wear sweat pants or a tank-top to court? No.
  5. Remember, where you log-in to the hearing becomes part of the court room.  Therefore, do situate yourself in a quiet place with no distractions and with no one else in the room. If you have a child(ren) and are unable to find child care, please do your best to make sure they are quiet and not in the room with you. Remember, court proceedings are for adults, not children. The Judge or Commissioner does not want children to hear what is going on during the Zoom hearing. This also goes for household pets. Please make sure they are not in the room with you or in a place where barking or other behavior will interfere with the hearing.
  6. Do have your e-mail open as your attorney may e-mail you during the hearing.
  7. Do mute yourself during the hearing unless you are asked to unmute yourself by your attorney or by the judge. The mute button is in the bottom left hand corner of screen when you are in the hearing.
  8. Do make sure your video is on.  The court wants to make sure it is actually you who is participating in the hearing and no one else is inappropriately present in the hearing (i.e. children).  Your video button is a video camera icon on the bottom left of your screen.

Zoom Don’ts:

  1. Don’t eat food on the Zoom. You may drink water on the Zoom.  If you do please do not use a cup or mug with logos or inappropriate sayings/pictures.
  2. Don’t speak during the Zoom unless your attorney or the judge asks you a question directly.
  3.  Don’t use the chat function on the Zoom application. This chat can be read by anyone in the Zoom, even if you think you are direct messaging someone.
  4. Don’t Zoom and drive. If you are doing the hearing from your car, please have the car in park so your full attention is on the hearing.
  5. Don’t record the hearing. It is illegal.

We hope this list of Zoom Do’s and Don’ts explains how the court expects you to act during your hearing. If you have any questions regarding this list or how to log into your Zoom hearing, please ask your attorney directly.

We welcome your comments or questions. We will do our best to try to respond. However, please be advised that we cannot give legal advice in this forum and all communications are for general informational purposes only. Communication should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. This is an open forum and any information you provide may be posted and will not be held confidentially. By posting a comment or question, you are expressly giving consent for the publication of same. If you have any specific legal issues or concerns, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney in the county and state in which you reside.

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