While Florida is one of several states without a prescribed dress code for court dates, many people wish judges would make dressing appropriately a rule while others don’t understand the fuss. In this report from the Sun-Sentinel, you can see which judges would like to see a little more “decorum” and which don’t have a preference on the attire of their subjects.
In Hollywood, Florida, the Broward County satellite courthouse has signs posted throughout warning there are “no tank tops” allowed. According to one judge there, they were likely posted because the bare-armed shirts are popular in that area. Frequently people are seen crossing the street to Target to get a more appropriate shirt.
One judge there, however, doesn’t mind if people violate the loosely enforced “rule” stating that this isn’t grammar school and no dress code should be enforced in a court of law.
Another judge, out of Palm Beach County, will refuse to hear a case if the defendant’s saggy jeans expose their underwear. She states it’s a matter of decorum and respect.
In other states, official rules exist on what is permissible and what is not. A woman who recently showed up to court in Fort Lauderdale in her slippers, hair rollers, and a shower cap would’ve likely had to leave had her case been in Trophy Club Texas where pajamas, lingerie, tattoos, and bathing suits are prohibited.
The vast majority of people still try to look nice on their day in court. Those represented by a Florida criminal defense attorney are often advised to dress nice, as first impressions do make a difference. If you dress like you just don’t care, a judge is likely to believe just that—that you don’t care.
When you go before a judge you want to give the impression that either a) you aren’t the type of stereotypical thug to commit crimes like the one you are accused of or b) you are a respectable citizen who made a mistake and is now ready to take responsibility for it. Either way, dressing nice and combing your hair can help project this image.
Telling an adult to wear clean clothes and cover their underwear during a hearing really shouldn’t have to be done. And while you are free to dress how you want, a good first impression can certainly impact the judge’s opinion of you and ultimately the outcome of your case.
If you are facing criminal charges and you’re curious about more than just what to wear when you see the judge, contact us to speak with an attorney on your case today.