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Closed Courts Don’t Mean Your Case Is Closed

Posted on behalf of Donahue & Kililis, PC | June 15, 2020

The presence of COVID-19 has turned so many things in our lives upside down and the criminal justice system is no exception. If you have been charged with a crime or ordered to appear in court due to a citation, the pandemic has added an extra wrinkle to the equation.

To slow and limit the spread of the virus, most courts in Illinois are open only for emergencies. The bad news is that the courts being closed doesn’t mean you are off the hook. The good news is that the court closures likely will not result in a significant delay in resolving your case. Like most things these days, your defense will move online.

Using Technology To Keep The Legal System Moving

If you have joined your friends for an online happy hour or joined a video meeting with your work colleagues, you are already familiar with the judicial system’s remedy for keeping the wheels of justice turning during this unprecedented time. In fact, the United States Supreme Court has even hopped on the video bandwagon.
Hearings can be handled via Zoom, and the same rights and procedures apply as they would for an in-person hearing. You are not required to have the assistance of a lawyer but, like any other time, it is recommended to give yourself the best chance at obtaining a favorable outcome in your criminal case.

In fact, all Lake County cases are now being heard via Zoom. If you have an upcoming misdemeanor or felony court appearance please make sure you have an updated email with our office, as you will be receiving an email prior to your court appearance with specific instructions. If you would like to get information in advance, click the following links: Daily Remote Court Session schedules and instructions on how to access Court via Zoom.  Traffic appearances, may also now be done by affidavit. If you have a pending traffic matter and have not signed an affidavit allowing our office to appear on your behalf without appearing, contact us today.

McHenry County has limited availability for appearances via Zoom, but the traffic, domestic battery, and specialty courts are allowing some appearances by Defendants and attorneys. Please contact our office for more information if you qualify for a video appearance.

Professionalism And Punctuality Still Matter

Coronavirus pandemic or no coronavirus pandemic, one of the worst things you can do is fail to respond punctually to all court orders and requests. While courts in Illinois remain primarily closed except for emergencies, it is important to be aware of where your case stands and when your case may possibly be heard. Working with a knowledgeable, local defense attorney is the best way to make sure you remain on the ball.

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