WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW TO BEHAVE
Going to Court can be understandably nerve wracking. Here are some pointers:
1. LEAVE TIME FOR SECURITY
You will be asked to go through security, so be sure to come well in advance of your court time in case there is a back up at the check in station.
2. PLAN AHEAD FOR SECURITY
Security does not allow any weapons, knives, razor blades, powders, camera or camera phones, liquids, mace, pepper spray, corkscrews, scissors, tools, nails, radios, tape recorders, rolled coins, knitting needles, heavy chain items or heavy metallic belts, handcuff keys, markers, aerosol spray cans or glass items. Some counties have special rules on cell phones and electronic devices. (See below.) Remove these items before coming into the courthouse.
***SPECIAL ALERT ON CELL PHONES AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES***
As of April 15, 2013, you are no longer allowed to bring any cell phone or electronic communication devices into Cook County courthouses except for the Richard J. Daley Center. There are other exceptions for attorneys, judges, government employees and parties to orders of protection who are required to carry GPS devices. Anyone violating this ban can be held in contempt of court. For more information, see Cell Phone Electronic Device Ban. DuPage County Circuit Court already bans bringing in camera phones or recording devices. (See: DuPage County Security Information.) Lake County allows you to bring in cell phones but not to use them in the courtroom. (See: Lake County Circuit Court Security Brief.)
3. YOU MUST APPEAR
In criminal, DUI and some traffic cases, court appearances are mandatory. If you fail to show up, a warrant will almost certainly be issued for your arrest.
4. BE ON TIME
Often an advantage to having a private attorney is that your case gets called first. If you are not there, it can send a signal to the judge that these proceedings are not important to you.
5. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Appearances do matter. You should dress respectfully like you would to go to church on Sunday or to a formal dinner. Coming in dressed like you’re working in your garage sends a message that you don’t care. Avoid wearing shorts, sweat shirts or pants, clothing associated with gangs or clothing that is too suggestive. One Lake County woman found herself jailed for contempt of court because she wore a tee-shirt that referred to the female anatomy, and she was only there to give a friend a ride! Judge Jails Round Lake Woman Over Profane T-shirt.
6. TURN OFF CELL PHONES
Cell phones and pagers must be turned off inside the courtroom.
7. NO TALKING
No speaking in the courtroom when the judge is on the bench.
8. NO FOOD
Do not bring food or beverages in the courtroom. Don’t chew gum.
9. CHECK FOR CHILD CARE IF NEEDED
Some courthouses provided children’s advocacy rooms for those who have to bring their children to court. For more information, see Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Services and Resources.
©2014 Matt Keenan. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this website should not be construed as formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.