If you are reading this, you likely have a court date on the horizon and aren’t sure how things work – including what to wear. It is good you are already getting ready for your court date and working on being prepared.
Different courts have different rules, but across the board, it is important to dress appropriately and in a way that indicates your respect for the court. If you are not attired properly, the bailiff (the court officer) could ask you to leave the courtroom until you have corrected your clothing issue. For example, in most courts, you are not allowed to wear hats, halter tops, midriff shirts, untucked shirts, low hanging pants or other attire that shows too much skin or just is too casual for the courtroom.
A Clerk of Court in Pennsylvania recently had signs posted in the court room indicating that pajamas are not appropriate court attire. Really! Pajamas! You would think that would be obvious “what not to wear” but clearly, in that courtroom, it had happened one too many times.
So, what do you wear? You don’t have to wear a suit, but being tidy and presentable is always a good idea. Men can safely dress in slacks and a button down shirt. Ladies can wear the same or a skirt (make sure it is knee length or just above – no mini-skirts, please).
Again, the overall tone is to show the court respect both by your actions and your attire. Just keep the pajamas at home and you should be fine.
T. Leigh Hearn-Rushton
See the no-pajama article by clicking here.
You’ve been served with a subpoena. It requires you to produce documents/information and or to appear in court to testify on a certain date and time. What’s next?
If you are already have an attorney, contact her first and let her know you’ve been served. She will need the subpoena to evaluate it and your next steps. Time may be of the essence, so deliver it promptly to your lawyer.
Depending on the subpoena, you may be required to provide documents and give testimony, give testimony only or provide the information only without appearing in court.
Subpoenas are usually specific on what information or documents are required. It may require copies of the last few years of tax returns, the location of certain property, a detailed list of all real or personal property, lists of accounts payable, banking records or other financials. It is best to start collecting the requested information quickly. Some records may have to be requested from your banking or other institution and may take several weeks to receive, if not longer.
Your subpoena may require to you appear in court to provide testimony regarding the documents you’ve brought with you or a matter with which you are familiar. Perhaps you witnessed a domestic incident or saw a car wreck happen on your way to the gym. Either way, serving as a witness often means a few hours at court. Just because your subpoena states to arrive at 8:45am doesn’t mean you will testify at 9:15, 11:15 or even noon. The docket must be called for all the cases and motions to be potentially heard that day. The hearings and/or trials are then held. Yours could be one of them. On the other hand, the case could settle and the matter resolved before you have to testify. You never know, so be prepared to be in court much of the day, just in case.
While appearing in court for your subpoena may make you nervous, it is okay. Follow your attorney’s directions and you will be fine!