How to Dress and Act At Court

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

In General.

  • Be on time to court. Leave home early. Being late calls attention to you in a negative way, and in court, you don’t want ANY negative attention.
  • When you are in front of the judge, let your lawyer do the talking. Do not interrupt, do not try to address the judge yourself. If you have a question, ask your lawyer, quietly.
  • 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.
  • 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.  This won’t help, and it will probably hurt, your cause.
  • 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.


If you are going to court, the best advice is simple: look like you are going to a job interview. Conservative, respectful and responsible are what you are going for. Your appearance can make a big difference with a prosecutor, judge or jury.  It isn’t fair, I know.  It just is.

For men:

  • Wear a shirt with a collar, a jacket and a tie. White or blue shirt; blue, gray or black jacket and pants. Best of all, wear a conservative suit and tie.
  • No jeans. No shorts. No sneakers. Wear dress shoes.
  • Get a haircut before court.  Seriously.
  • Shave. Seriously.
  • Minimize jewelry. A wedding ring and a watch are acceptable. Any more should be left at home.
  • If you have tattoos, cover them if possible.  I know, its not fair.  It just is.

For women:

  • Dress conservatively. Conservative colors. No short skirts, no shorts.
  • Shoes should also be conservative, and heels should not be too high.
  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Wedding or engagement ring, watch, earrings, and one other piece, at the most. Earrings should not dangle far below the ear.
  • No revealing or sheer blouses or tops.  No revealing or sheer pants or skirts.
  • If you have tattoos, cover them if possible. I know, its not fair. It just is.