How to Dress for Court, Especially Criminal Court
Dress appropriately, meaning modestly.Some people would say, "Dress for Church," but I have seen such an extreme range of attire, from suits, to ridiculously inappropriate "daisy dukes" shorts, to ripped "metallica" T-shirts, that I don't tell my clients that anymore. I am very specific; a suit is not necessary, but a shirt and tie certainly won't hurt. At the very least: no shorts, no T-shirts, (a shirt with a collar), nothing very revealing, especially for females. I see the reasonable optimum as a collared shirt and tie and either dress pants or khakis with dress shoes or casual leather shoes, not tennis shoes. However, I have seen people in nice jeans without rips and in tennis shoes, where it didn't seem to hurt them. And I have seen people dressed ridiculously and I don't know if it hurt them. Err on the side of caution. No hats. No gum chewing; it makes you look cavalier and disinterested. Take your coat off inside. Otherwise, it looks like you can't wait to get out of there. (Even if that is true).
Don't talk in the courtroom, or at least keep your voice down.Now that you have managed to make a decent first impression don't ruin it. The last thing that you want is to draw the judge's attention or anger while he is dealing with another case. Observe and follow the norm. In some courtrooms people are routinely coming and going, even while a witness is on the stand or the judge is speaking. In other Courts that is strictly forbidden. Wait and see what is acceptable. Always err on the side of caution! If you must enter or leave the courtroom, close the door gently behind you so as to minimize the disruption. If your attorney asks you questions while you are waiting, you should certainly answer them, but both of you need to keep your voices down or step outside to have an extended conference; otherwise you may draw the attention of the judge or at least a bailiff. If you do, then simply apologize and then shut up. Don't attempt to explain or make excuses, it will only to make things worse. Follow any instructions of the bailiff or clerk.