How to Look and Act at Court

Your appearance and demeanor can have an effect on the outcome of your case.  How you look and act in court will make an impression on the judge, jury and prosecutor.

Appearance.

If you are going to court, the best advice is simple: look like you are going to church, or to a job interview. Conservative, respectful and responsible are what you are going for. Here is how:

For men:

1. Wear a shirt with a collar, a jacket and a tie. White or blue shirt; blue, gray or black jacket and pants.

2. No jeans. No sneakers. No boots. Wear dress shoes.

3. Get a haircut.

4. Shave.

5. No jewelry. A wedding ring and a watch are acceptable.

6. If you have tattoos, cover them if possible.

For women:

1. Dress conservatively. Dark colors, preferably blue, gray or black. Skirts should be knee length, no shorter.

2. Shoes should also be conservative, black brown or blue, and heels should not be too high.

3. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.  Wedding or engagement ring, watch, and one other piece, at the most.  Earrings should not dangle far below the ear.

4.  No revealing or sheer blouses or tops.

5. If you have tattoos, cover them if possible.

Demeanor.

The way you behave and carry yourself in court makes an impression on the people who have power over your case. Above all, you want to appear respectful of the court and confident in yourself and your case.

1. When you are in front of the judge, let your lawyer do the talking. Do not try to address the judge yourself. If you have a question, ask your lawyer, quietly.

2. When you are waiting for your case to be called, don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t talk to the other people in court. If you need to get your lawyer’s attention, ask one of the court officers to tell him or her.

3. Whatever happens, it is important that you don’t show any negative reaction to what the judge or prosecutor says. No facial expressions, no sighs or muttered comments, no gestures.

4. From the time you drive into the parking lot until you leave, and everywhere you go while you are in the building, act as if the judge or jurors are watching.  They may be.