Making an appearance in criminal court is usually a very unpleasant experience. You are often judged in more ways than one by almost everyone in the room. With everyone’s eyes on you, you need to make the best first impression possible. While a jury is not allowed to use your outfit choices against you, it is still a good idea to try and look your best in criminal court.
In general, when making an appearance in criminal court, you should aim to dress more conservatively. You might feel like your outfit is very plain and boring, but outrageous clothes could leave a bad impression on the judge or jury. If you dress casually, people might think you do not care about your charges or take the court seriously. People could reach other false conclusions about you if you make more outrageous fashion choices, like bright colors or revealing clothing.
If you have an upcoming criminal court hearing, please speak to our Utah criminal defense attorneys. We can advise you on how to dress to make a good first impression on the court. We can also talk to you about any specific dress code requirements imposed by your particular court or judge. To set up a free legal consultation, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.
First Impressions Matter in Utah Criminal Courts
Let’s be honest. Your outfit choice should not matter in something as important as a criminal hearing. You are on trial for alleged criminal actions and may only be judged based on the evidence presented in court. However, we do not live in a perfect world where nobody is judged based on their outward appearance. It is admittedly a bit unfair, but you need to dress in a way that will leave a good impression on the judge and jury as they may control the outcome of your trial.
You should consider how to dress based on the nature of your hearing and the court in which you must appear. A somewhat more relaxed dress code may be more acceptable for less serious charges or a more informal hearing. For example, a three-piece suit is not necessary when showing up for traffic court. However, a defendant on trial for a violent felony should probably wear a suit or similar level of formal clothing during their proceedings.
Not only will different courts have their own dress codes, but different judges may have different preferences of dress. Some judges do not give much thought to your attire. Other judges will reprimand you for dressing too casually. It is best to speak with your attorney before going to court about what you should wear. Your lawyer should be familiar with any dress code requirements and judge preferences. Talk to our Orem criminal defense lawyers about your upcoming criminal court appearance as soon as possible.
How to Dress for Criminal Court in Utah
When dressing for criminal court, it is always best to err on the side of caution and dress conservatively. Depending on how you prefer to dress in your everyday life, dressing more conservatively may feel more restricting or boring. However, conservative clothing is typically a safer choice because it leaves less of an impression on jurors and judges. A more unique or flamboyant manner of dress could cause people to jump to conclusions about who you are.
For men, it is a good idea to invest in a suit. You should at least have some khaki pants or dress slacks, a button-up dress shirt, a suit jacket or sport coat, dress shoes, and a tie. Your shirt should be a neutral color, preferably white. Your suit jacket and pants should be black, navy, or gray. Your tie should also be neutral and your shoes black or brown. If you do not own this kind of clothing, talk to your lawyer about outfit choices. However, if you can afford to, you should acquire these articles of clothing before your hearing.
For women, much of the advice mentioned above will apply. Dress should be more conservative and color choices should be neutral. If you choose to wear a skirt rather than pants, make sure your skirt is long enough to reach your knees. This advice may sound outdated or misogynistic, but you never know who is on your jury or how they may perceive your fashion choices. Your shoes should be closed-toe and heels should not be too high. Try to wear makeup that is more natural-looking and keep jewelry to a minimum. Consult with our Park City criminal defense lawyers about your case today.
Dress Choices to Avoid in Utah Criminal Courts
If you dress conservatively for court, you should be just fine. However, there are a few fashion choices that should be avoided. For men, avoid casual clothing like T-shirts, jeans, or sneakers. While it is perfectly acceptable for men to dress as they please in their day-to-day life, courts tend to frown on “nontraditional” styling. Additionally, judges tend to be older and come from generations where dress codes for men and women were much stricter.
Women should avoid short skirts, revealing clothing, painted fingernails, and wearing too much makeup. As stated above, women should be free to dress as they like in their day-to-day life. Unfortunately, women tend to be judged extra harshly for their dress choices. A conservative look will be more beneficial in a criminal proceeding.
For everybody, male or female, tattoos should be covered and piercings should be removed as much as possible. For those with tattoos that cannot be covered, such as those on the hands or face, it is especially important to dress as conservatively as possible. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys can help you figure out the best way to dress for your hearing.
Grooming Choices for Criminal Court Appearance in Utah
For grooming, your hair should be cut and styled appropriately for court. For men, try to keep your hair short and neatly combed. Also, you should shave any facial hair or at least tidy up an unruly beard. For women, wear your hair in a simple style that does not attract attention. A neat ponytail will do fine. These tips are restrictive, old-fashioned, and unfair. Judging someone based on appearance is never right. However, we cannot control when people judge you for your outfit and style choices, and in a criminal trial, those judgments could have serious consequences. Call our Ogden criminal defense lawyers for more guidance on how to present yourself in court.
Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
If you are faced with an upcoming criminal hearing, call our Utah criminal defense attorneys for help. Schedule a free consultation by calling Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.