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Does How You Look Matter in Oakland Criminal Trials?

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Jul 04, 2023 | 0 Comments

How you dress, act, and look can make a difference in a criminal trial. It may not seem fair but your appearance and first impression can impact everyone, including the judge and jury. When your fate is in the hands of others, you should consider doing your best to give yourself the best chance to avoid a conviction. 

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you prepare for your court appearances after an arrest. If you want to know about your legal rights after an Oakland arrest, contact East Bay criminaI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick for legal advice.

Do Some People Look More Guilty?

Most of us make assumptions about someone based on their initial appearance. As the saying goes, it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. However, according to psychological research, it may only take 1/10th of a second to make a judgment that stays with the person. Putting on your best appearance can help the judge and jury start with a better feeling about you.

According to an article from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), facial appearance matters for trustworthiness. In research across 3 studies, "defendants whose faces looked untrustworthy were found guilty more often than defendants who looked trustworthy." Although, it's difficult to gauge precisely what this means.  

There are things you can do if you are trying to negotiate a plea agreement or diversion instead of a criminal conviction. Depending on the judge, showing that you are in a substance abuse treatment program or rehab can be a factor in the judge deciding how to handle your case. If you want to know what else you can do to improve your chances at diversion or pleading your case down to a lesser charge, talk to your Oakland criminal defense attorney.

Do I Have to Wear a Suit to Court?

There is no requirement to wear a suit in court. However, a suit or business attire can help you present a professional look. If nothing else, it shows that you are taking the criminal charges seriously. This can go a long way to show the judge and jurors that you actually care about what happened, take responsibility, and want to make positive changes going forward. 

If you don't have a suit, you may be able to borrow one from a friend or family member. If you can't get a suit that fits, try to look as professional as you can with what you have available. Think of it as you would dress going in for a job interview. The Alameda County Superior Court has guidance for jury services that should help you understand what to wear. 

"Dress as you would to go to a business meeting or a social function. Do not wear shorts or tank tops."

Even if you don't believe in any dress code, your criminal court appearance is not the time to make a personal statement about fashion. Don't go to present your first impression wearing a tank top, hat, and sunglasses, or "dress in any manner reflecting poorly upon the dignity of the court and its decorum."

Criminal Defense in Oakland and the East Bay

If you are arrested in Oakland, talk to your defense lawyer about how to present yourself in the best light. Your attorney can build a strong legal defense to help you avoid a criminal conviction. Your lawyer may also be able to negotiate a felony offense down to a misdemeanor to help you avoid a felony conviction on your record. 

Call an experienced California criminal defense attorney for legal help. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of Oakland criminal defense experience and understands the consequences of a criminal conviction. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 38 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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