The dress code in juvenile court is an important yet sometimes overlooked aspect of the process. Many other concerns seem to outweigh this topic during court prep time and I have found it best to just spell out the ABC's of dressing for court. While much of this may seem obvious, you can never be too prepared.
When you walk in to the courthouse, you will see children and adults alike in all types of clothing, ranging from extremely casual to suit and tie. While there is no mandatory dress code, I strongly believe that dressing for court is of the utmost importance.
"Dressing up" for court achieves several ends. First and foremost, your attire shows that you respect the court system and the judge. Secondly, dressing appropriately demonstrates that you are taking the matter seriously.
What To Wear
I advise all my clients to wear the same type of clothing that one would wear to a religious service or graduation event. Specifically, for boys, a button down shirt and slacks, and dress shoes are appropriate attire, and if the child owns a suit and tie, even better. For girls, a knee length (or longer) skirt and blouse, or dress, or dress slacks and blouse or sweater set would be considered appropriate.
As a general rule of thumb, in my opinion as an experienced attorney in juvenile court, is to always err on the side of dressing conservatively. If your child has a school uniform that does not include shorts, then this would also be acceptable dress for court.
What Not To Wear
There are many clothing items that are completely unacceptable for court. Please DO NOT think about wearing the following items:
1) Flip flops
3) Pants that sag below the waist
4) Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
5) Athletic wear
6) Baseball caps or hats
By following the guidelines, your child should be in good shape. As far as parents go, dress should also be conservative and respectful. By dressing appropriately and respectfully, your child can help their lawyer in their representation before the court.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.