Often times I am shocked when I show up to court and see a room full of inappropriately dressed people. I think to myself, “Is this REALLY how someone wants to present themselves to a judge who is going to determine their case issues of law and possible penalties at the sentencing phase of the criminal case?”
About 2 years ago, I represented a client who was charged with DUI based on smoking marijuana. God bless my DUI client, she loved to smoke weed but I couldn’t believe she wore a Bob Marley blunt smoking shirt to our court appearance. You don’t need to be dressed like you are going to a funeral but you shouldn’t wear a T-shirt displaying the crime you’ve been accused of.
Another instance of what not to wear; I was in Seattle Municipal Court and noticed a young lady who was charged with prostitution. I’m not one to judge a person’s appearance but if you are facing a charge of prostitution you probably shouldn’t come to court looking like you just got off “work.” If you are charged with prostitution or any other criminal charge for that matter you should not wear a mini skirt, 5 inch heels and a v-neck tee barely supporting your large chest.
Another fun what not to wear sighting came out of Lynnwood Municipal Court where I observed a defense attorney dressed like he just came straight to court from an all night out of drinking. Although he was dressed in a suit, it looked as if it had not been dry cleaned since he bought it in 1993. It smelled like it hadn’t been cleaned since then either. This defense attorney’s shirt was so wrinkled it looked like he was wearing it while demonstrating how to stop drop and roll as if his clothes had been on fire. Again, you don’t need to dress like you are going to the Emmy’s but come on…criminal defense attorneys should dress as if they really care about their client’s case.
In a nut shell, here’s WHAT NOT TO WEAR to court;
- a tank top or short shorts
- a baseball cap, hat, or doo rag
- short skirts or short dresses
- T-shirts with inappropriate graphics
- flip-flops or slippers
- soiled or stinky clothes
- ripped or torn clothes
When going to court you should dress as if you were attending church or meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time. You don’t necessarily need to wear a new suit but you want to look like you respect the court system and you respect yourself.