Courtrooms are formal, and the judges are very strict about attire. The last thing you want to do is be kicked out of a courtroom or your court appearance postponed due to your clothes.
Your presentation tells the judge a lot about you, and sometimes these small cues can make the difference in your case. You should select clothing that shows the judge, lawyers, and clerks that you care about the laws and your rights.
While it is not required that you wear the most expensive clothes, an effort to look presentable will go a long way with a judge.
While your attire says one thing about you, your behavior in court says another. You want to make sure your actions match your attire.
It is very important is to be exceedingly polite when speaking to any person in court, and especially formal when speaking to the judge. This includes the court clerk and any other staff you come into contact with. They all have access to the judge and will let them know if you were disrespectful to them.
Address the judge as “your honor.” Do not address the judge as “judge.”
It is very important not to interrupt anyone during your court appearance. You will have the opportunity to provide your side of the story. If the judge has to reprimand you for any reason, apologize to the judge and then the other party.
A small but significant detail is to make appropriate eye contact. Always look a person in the eye when they are speaking with you but do not stare a hole into their head. Try to avoid looking at the floor, ceiling, or all around. Pay attention to what is going on.
What am I prohibited from bringing into the building?
All courthouses prohibit weapons from being brought onto the premises. Hats, sunglasses, and baggy pants that fall below the waist are also not allowed.
Please avoid chewing gum, bringing food, or bringing drinks in. You may be asked to get rid of these items if you choose to bring them.
Can I use my cell phone during court?
Cell phone use is not permitted in the courtroom. Some courthouses do not even allow people to bring their phones inside and make people leave them in the car.
What happens if I am unable to make my court date?
If you do not have an attorney, you need to contact the court clerk at least 48 hours before your hearing. However, a judge may still make a ruling in your case without you being present. If you have an attorney, they will work with the court to reschedule your hearing.
Is it okay if I have tattoos?
It is best to try and hide any tattoos. If you have one on your neck, wear a collared shirt (which is what we recommend anyways). If you have them on your arms, wear long sleeves.
May my children attend court?
Because of the formality of the court, it is not recommended for infants or small children. Children must not create a disturbance, or you may be asked to leave the courtroom.