What Should I Wear For My South Carolina Court Date?
In-person and virtual court appearances can be a challenging experience, and the importance of preparation cannot be overstated. According to the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, nearly 100 million cases are filed in state courts and 400,000 in federal courts every year. These statistics mean that many people will need to appear at a deposition or a court proceeding if summoned to do so.
Proper preparation for a court date or deposition includes hiring an attorney, determining the time and location of the appearance, and dressing appropriately. Although other attorneys, court judges, and jury members should not judge people solely on their appearance, courtroom decorum requires individuals to meet the court’s dress code standards. It is essential to give the right impression when attending a court hearing.
What Is the Court Room Dress Code?
South Carolina courts may have a specific dress code and explicitly prohibit certain types of clothing. In most cases, courts make dress code information available on their websites. However, local attorneys experienced with certain judges are a valuable resource for determining proper attire. If a court does not provide dress code information, it is wise to air on the side of conservative attire. Although this may seem archaic—and it is—it is crucial to understand that courtrooms still emphasize etiquette and appearance. The last thing you want to do is to be judged on something other than the merits of your case.
Importance of Appearance in Front of a Courtroom
A person’s appearance may not always accurately reflect a person’s character; it is one factor that influences how others perceive their truthfulness. A critical element in determining what to wear is dressing to convey respect to the court and its guests. Dressing neatly, professionally, and conservatively is a good rule of thumb for South Carolina court appearances.
Following clothing items that are appropriate court attire:
- Business suits,
- Long-sleeved button-up shirts,
- Modest dresses,
- Long or mid-length skirts with a professional blouse; and
- Slacks with a modest sweater.
The following attire should not be worn to a South Carolina court appearance:
- Crop Tops,
- Flip Flops,
- Sunglasses; and
- Ripped Clothing.
Avoiding excessive jewelry, makeup, and potentially offensive clothing is just one manageable step people can take to make sure their court appearance goes smoothly.
What to Wear to a South Carolina Deposition
A deposition is a formal question-and-answer session between the attorneys from both sides of a case with the plaintiff, defendant, or witnesses. At a deposition, a defendant’s lawyer will start by asking questions. Once they are finished, the plaintiff’s lawyer can ask follow-up questions to clarify anything that may be taken out of context based on the previous questions. At the end of the deposition, the court reporter will provide both parties’ transcripts of the court proceeding. Additionally, the attorneys conducting the deposition will complete a deposition summary.
Depositions are one of the essential parts of a case as it is often the first time the attorneys from each side get to meet the individuals involved in the case. A standard part of a deposition summary includes “Impression of Witness”; this section consists of a physical description of the party and a note regarding whether the party appears credible. The opposing party may base settlement decisions, at least in part, upon how convincing a person appeared as a witness.
Additionally, appropriate attire is critical at a deposition to avoid giving a false or inaccurate impression that may negatively affect a judge or jury’s view. Also, how a person comes off through their body language, reactions, and clothing plays an integral part in cases.
What to Wear to a Video Deposition
Video depositions are sworn testimonies taken from a witness outside of court for use in a civil or criminal case. Like in-person depositions or court proceedings, part of what a person should convey during a video deposition is the appearance of respect for the legal process. Video depositions have become much more common in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing court closures and restrictions. Those involved in a video deposition must understand that the deposition may be made available to various parties as part of the case proceedings.
Special Considerations in Personal Injury Cases
In a personal injury case, the victim claims that they suffered a severe injury based on another’s negligence. The ability to successfully bring a case depends on the extent of the injuries sustained and the victim’s credibility. Keep this in mind when deciding what to wear to court.
For example, a person should avoid coming to a court or deposition wearing high-heeled shoes if they are seeking compensation for knee and ankle injuries suffered in a slip and fall. Similarly, a person should avoid lugging in a large purse or briefcase if they were involved in a car accident and suffered back injuries.
Maintaining credibility as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness, is one of the essential parts in a personal injury case. It is important that a person discusses their court attire with their attorneys so that they can best represent themselves for their unique case.
Have You Been Injured in a South Carolina Accident?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a South Carolina accident, the Steinberg Law Firm is here to help. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have been helping injured people recover meaningful compensation for what they have been through for over 95 years.
Over this time, we have developed a successful approach for resolving our clients’ cases in the most favorable way possible. In fact, over the past ten years, we have recovered more than $500 million for our injured clients. We handle personal injury cases in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, including car crashes, truck wrecks, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, construction accidents, and wrongful death claims.
To learn more and schedule a free consultation, call us at (843) 720-2800. You can also contact us through our online form. There is no obligation when you set up a consultation, and we will never bill you for any of our services unless we can help get you the compensation you need and deserve.