Raleigh, North Carolina Courthouse Decorum What to Wear When Going to Court

When visiting the Wake County Courthouse for a North Carolina Felony or a North Carolina Misdemeanor, it can sometimes be intimidating. Certainly you may face many questions. One of those questions may be what may be appropriate clothing to wear to your court date. Below will be a review of a couple of Wake County Courthouse policies as well as recommendations on what may be worn.

To begin with, this article will address the Wake County Courthouse ‘policies.’ In the Wake County Courthouse, there is no dress code. There are, however, presently some ‘restrictions’ on the way some people may be dressed that should be reviewed. On the door of every Wake County courtroom is a sign requiring two things: 1. That men have their shirts tucked in, and 2. That men have their pants pulled up. In these courtrooms, should a bailiff observe you not adhering to these restrictions, they will ask you to leave the courtroom, ‘correct’ your attire, and then reenter. Even if a Defendant makes it into the courtroom not adhering to these ‘restrictions,’ should that Defendant go before the judge, they will likely speak with you about your attire.

Other then those restrictions, there are not limitations on what to wear, but there are certainly recommendations. If you are a criminal defendant, it is best to dress neat but not overdress. A common misconception is that it is necessary to wear a full suit to court. Though attorneys are required to be in business attire and/or business suits, the general public is not required to do so. However, a good rule of thumb is to wear clothing that would be appropriate for church. This means for men, slacks – not jeans or shorts, nice shoes – not sneakers or sandals, and a collared shirt (button up or ‘golf’ shirt) – not a T-shirt. For women, this means dresses or skirts at appropriate lengths or slacks – not jeans or shorts, nice shoes – not sneakers or flip flops, and a nice blouse not a T-shirt. Again, this is not a requirement of the court, but it is a strong recommendation.

Though the ‘restrictions’ on men having their shirts tucked in and pants up may seem a bit silly, it is none-the-less a part of going to court in Wake County and should be observed. Additionally, though the recommendations included in this article are, in no way, necessary for certain outcomes, they certainly can be received well by the Judge in your case.

Disclaimer – Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.