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. However, you may not be sure how to dress for court for a traffic ticket in NY. On the 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 a New York traffic ticket lawyer, you can simply ask them 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 how to dress for traffic court.
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.
- A nice button-up shirt and preferably a tie. You don’t have to wear a blazer with it, but it may be good to do so.
- 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.
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
- Anice blouse
- Simple and tidy hair, perhaps in a bun or a ponytail
- Pantyhose should be dark
- Heels should be no more than 2 inches — flats may be preferable
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.
What to Expect in Court for NY Traffic Tickets
If you decide to fight your traffic ticket, one of two things may happen. Your lawyer may meet with the prosecutor to have your charges lessened or (rarely) dismissed. However, if the results of the meeting aren’t to your liking, you can have your case heard in court. You will do so at an NYC Traffic Violations Bureau. Typically, your case will be heard at the Bureau that is closest to where you received your ticket. There are 8 traffic ticket courts throughout NYC:
- Brooklyn North
- Brooklyn South
- Manhattan North
- Manhattan South
- Richmond (Staten Island)
- Queens North
- Queens South
When you arrive at the NYC Traffic Violations Bureau, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will call cases one by one. The case will start with the officer who issued the citation explaining what they saw. Always expect the officer to show up. Appearing in court is part of their job description.
After the officer testifies, your lawyer will question them. Then, they may call experts and present other evidence showing that your charges should be reduced or dropped altogether. At the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ will either say that you are guilty, or they will dismiss the charges (or, if you have multiple charges, they may enforce some and dismiss others). If you are found guilty, you can appeal the decision.
How a New York Traffic Lawyer Can Help
If you have been issued a traffic ticket in New York, you have legal options. At Feiner & Greenberg, our lawyers are intimately familiar with local and state laws surrounding traffic violations. We also know the mistakes police officers often make, and how to fight for reduced or dropped charges on your behalf.
Contact the attorneys at Feifer & Greenberg online today or call us at (888) 842–5384 for a free consultation and to learn more about fighting the charges.