Your Court Appearance
What to Expect
Dress as though you were going to an important job interview. Shorts, bare feet, tank tops, halter tops, sandals, hats and other very casual clothing is not acceptable. You will be removed from the courtroom if you violate court dress code; this may result in an arrest warrant for failure to appear or a default of your civil case. Regardless of how you personally feel about the dress code, obey the rules. You are not in court to make a symbolic statement regarding your lifestyle.
Leave your cell phone at home or in the car. As of March 1, 2007, cell phones are not allowed in the courthouse. If you take it with you, it will be confiscated at the security checkpoint, or you will have to return to your car to leave it, which may cause you to be late to the courtroom.
Always arrive to court on time. If you have a 9:00 a.m. appearance, arrive at least twenty minutes early in order to allow for time to locate parking and the proper courtroom. Be sure to allow plenty of time to find parking or for your bus being late, and for going through the security checkpoint. If you are not there before the courtroom door closes, you will not be allowed into the courtroom.
In Champaign County, the court is located at 101 East Main Street, in Urbana. There is limited on-street parking in Urbana. A parking structure is located on the west side of the courthouse (across the street), and there is a parking lot on the east side of the courthouse. The following bus routes will most conveniently take you to the Champaign County Courthouse from the university: the 25 Loop, Green, Gold, and Orange.
At all times, you should retain a composed and attentive posture whether you are in the audience, appearing as a witness, appearing as a criminal defendant, or a civil plaintiff or defendant.
- You and your witnesses should be quiet in court.
- Don't smoke or chew gum.
- Do not go in and out of the courtroom while waiting for your case to be called.
- During your case, speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard, and stay calm.
- Call the judge "Your Honor."
If you are entering a guilty plea, the court will inform you of your constitutional rights. You should carefully listen to the court's explanation in order to make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities. If you do not understand your rights, it is proper to ask the court for clarification.
It is never proper to speak, even in a whisper, with friends or other audience members while court is in session.
Getting Ready for Court
You can go to Court yourself and watch other cases before yours comes up. If you do this, you'll see how the Court works, where everybody sits and what they do and say. Plan to do this a few days or weeks before you have to go to Court. It will make you more comfortable and less nervous when you go to Court for your own case
In Champaign County, the court is located at 101 East Main Street, Urbana.
- First Floor: Clerk of the Circuit Court and Traffic Court (Courtroom L) and Champaign County Public Defender
- Second Floor: Courtrooms F, G, H, and K, Law Library (Room 242) and access to State's Attorney Office
- Third Floor: Courtrooms A, B, C, D, and E and Court Services/Probation
Helpful Phone Numbers
- Small Claims: (217) 384-3860
- Traffic: (217) 384-3717
- Criminal: (217) 384-3727
- Civil: (217) 384-3725
- Court Services: (217) 384-3753
- Public Defender: (217) 384-3714
- State's Attorney Office: (217) 384-3733
- Student Legal Service, U of I: (217) 333-9053