What to Wear to Traffic Court

gavel on wooden background

If you have decided to fight your traffic ticket in New York, you may be appearing in court to plead your case. If you’ve hired an attorney, you won’t need to appear personally but if you are fighting on your own you’ll need to go to court.  If you are attending court to represent yourself (or even if you have hired an attorney and choose to attend with your lawyer), you may be wondering what to wear. On one hand, you don’t want to show up in jeans and a T-shirt. That’s just disrespectful to the court, and the judge will not look kindly on it. On the other hand, you don’t want to be so overdressed that you look like you’re playing dress-up, which can seem arrogant.

If you do have an attorney, you can simply ask your lawyer if there’s anything in particular to consider regarding dress for court.  The good news is, dressing for court to fight a traffic violation doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s what you need to know about what to wear for traffic court.

For Men

We’ll start with men because, as statistics show, men are more likely to get a traffic ticket than women. Men will need to wear khaki slacks, if not black slacks. You will also want to wear a nice button-up shirt and preferably a tie. You don’t have to wear a jacket with it, but it may be good to do so. Of course, you will want to complete your outfit with nice dress shoes (and socks). The balance here is that you do NOT want to show up in court wearing a three-piece suit. One of the best (and safest) combinations is khakis, a dress shirt, a nice blazer and a tie that complements the jacket.

What to Avoid: Unless you have a religious reason, you should never wear any kind of hat to court. Avoid dark glasses as well. If you have facial hair, make sure it is trimmed and clean (again, unless you have religious requirements for facial hair). While it’s best to have a professional, clean haircut, if you have long hair, make sure it is in a neat ponytail. Avoid flashy jewelry, which just screams to the judge that you have money to spare.

For Women

It’s a sad truth that women are often more sexualized for their clothing choices than men. Though it’s not right at all that this is the situation, it’s important to dress very professionally if you have a court date. Skirts that are knee length (or longer), or slacks, with a nice blouse is a good go-to outfit. Your hair should be simple and tidy, perhaps in a bun or a ponytail. Pantyhose should be dark, and heels should be no more than 2 inches — flats may be your best friend in court.

What to Avoid: Don’t go for heavy makeup or perfumes; foundation, neutral lip gloss and mascara is good for court. Tight clothing or tops with a low cut are an absolute no. If you only own form-fitting tops, consider a nice sweater or jacket to wear over it. As with the men, unless you have religious reasons, avoid wearing anything on your head. If you wear earrings, they should be small studs. Again, as with the men, avoid any flashy jewelry.

The best rule of thumb for men and women is: Don’t be distracting. Let the judge make their decision on your case based on the evidence, not on what you’re wearing. Simple clothing in neutral clothing is the best way to go. When in doubt, contact an attorney regarding what would be best to wear.

If you have been issued a traffic ticket in New York, you have legal options. Contact the attorneys at Feifer & Greenberg today for a free consultation and to learn more about fighting the charges.