If you have an appointment in a courtroom, you probably aren’t spending too much time thinking about what outfit you are going to wear. Whether you have ever been to court or not, you have undoubtedly noticed on TV or in photos that the attire for lawyers, defendants, plaintiffs, and even the audience is strictly business professional. But why is that? In this post, we will discuss what the court dress code is, the reasons why there is a dress code, and the consequences for breaking it.
What Is The Court Dress Code?
In Texas, all participants of the courtroom (lawyers and clients) must dress professionally. This means that men must wear a business suit or a sports coat with dress slacks, a collared shirt, and a tie. Women must wear a dress or skirt/slacks with a professional blouse. Jurors usually have more freedom in their dress code, but are still required to maintain business casual attire. For those not participating in the courtroom (observers), they are prohibited from wearing open toed shoes, shorts, tank tops, or hats and are also required to wear a business casual outfit. If you are ever unsure of the dress code, you should aim to dress as though you are going to an interview for an administrative or management position.
Why Is There a Court Dress Code?
The courtroom is a formal environment and should be treated as such. Dressing appropriately helps to maintain decorum in the courtroom as well as shows respect for our nation’s laws and procedures. Along with showing respect for courtroom procedures, dressing appropriately also shows respect to the judge and jury. If you are the defendant, you will want to give off as good of an impression as possible by dressing nicely. Jurors are likely to assign unintentional biases based on the appearance of the courtroom representatives.
Consequences For Breaking The Court Dress Code
Consequences for breaking the courtroom dress code can be both direct and indirect. A direct consequence could be a judge not permitting you into their courtroom. It will depend on the judge, however, as some do not adhere to a strict dress code while some do. If you are permitted into the courtroom, an indirect consequence, as previously stated, would be the jury’s attitude towards you. You never know who you are going to get on a jury and if you are in a courtroom situation, you want to put yourself in the best position possible to receive a favorable verdict. Dressing inappropriately may harm your chances of receiving that. So, make sure to dress nice and be respectful if you find yourself in a courtroom.
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