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How will Illinois court closings affect my case?

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus, many circuit courts such as Winnebago County have announced that they will be postponing non-emergency court dates for the foreseeable future. If you are a Pro Legal Care LLC client, Attorney Zach Townsend and our staff have been communicating directly with you regarding how this pertains to your individual case.

What happens to my case if court is closed?

Each circuit court has released regular updates regarding their status. You can track all Illinois court updates in one convenient place by visiting the Illinois Courts COVID-19 Update Page.

The type of matter that you have will make a big difference in how your case is handled – be sure to read all updates from your local court closely and reach out to a licensed attorney if you need help navigating the system during this tumultuous time. Criminal, traffic, family, juvenile, and civil matters are all being handled in slightly different ways. Whether your next court date is considered an emergency vs a non-emergency will also make a big difference – most civil and family court appearances are considered non-emergency and are getting rescheduled. Though we understand that to you and your family, it feels like an emergency to have your voice heard in court, the court system is viewing these proceedings in light of the life-or-death situations that may be created by gathering people together during this time.

What can a lawyer do for me while court is closed?

While attending court for you is the most visible and obvious part of your attorney’s job at times, the “heavy lifting” of your case is done outside of the courtroom – and all of that work can and should continue uninterrupted. This includes drafting and filing motions to move your case forward and protect your interests, negotiating and coming to agreements with your opposing party or their counsel, and formalizing those agreements so that as soon as your case is heard in front of a judge again, you can have substantial forward progress and not feel a delay because of the court closure.

At Pro Legal Care LLC, our attorneys have always worked hard to minimize your time in court through compassionate dedication to move your case forward with minimal stress and costs to you and your family. Because we’ve always operated under the belief that finding common ground is best for your family, it’s business-as-usual for us as we handle your case during these uncertain times.

Your attorney and his or her staff will also take the weight off of your shoulders of managing the calendar, staying on top of updates from the court, filing emergency motions and requesting emergency hearings should the need arise, and even communicating with your opposing party on your behalf if communication is impossible, difficult, or overly stressful for you.

I haven’t hired an attorney yet. Can I hire an attorney while court is closed?

Yes. Many law firms, including Pro Legal Care LLC, are open for business as usual during this time. Your meetings with your Attorney and our staff will primarily be conducted by telephone or video conferencing, including your Free Initial Consultation.

Particularly in family law, a lot happens in the early weeks of a matter and your case is often not heard before a judge until a couple of months after your initial filing – all of that work can be done now, and when the courts are available to hear your matter, we’ll be able to bring you resolution.

To schedule your Free Initial Consultation, simply call us at (815) 200-8802 and we’ll connect you with an attorney free of charge to discuss your case in detail and determine the best path forward for you and your family.

My employment is uncertain. What if I can’t afford an attorney right now?

If you feel like you need to retain an attorney but your financial picture is uncertain because of COVID19, please consider scheduling a Free Initial Consultation with us anyway. We offer a number of payment plans that may help you and your family retain the professional representation that you need without putting a strain on you during this time.

What if I need an Order of Protection while court is closed?

Orders of Protection and their extensions are being handled as emergencies in most counties. If you do not currently have an Order of Protection but feel that you need one, Attorney Townsend is available to help you navigate the process.

Your Order of Protection hearing may be a hearing with the Judge via telephone, and you will likely complete your petition online instead of on paper. If you have accessibility issues that will make it difficult for you to complete these tasks, please reach out to us at 815-200-8802 so that we can discuss how we can help.

Winnebago County Court Closings

Winnebago County is in the Illinois 17th District, and you can click here to read their announcement as of March 17th, 2020.

Your case is likely to be a Winnebago County matter if you live or were charged in Rockford, Rockton, Roscoe, South Beloit, Loves Park, Machesney Park, or the surrounding areas.

Boone County Court Closings

Boone County is also in the Illinois 17th District. Like Winnebago County, your case will fall under the announcement of March 17th, 2020.

You probably have a Boone County matter if you live or were charged in Belvidere, Caledonia, Capron, Poplar Grove, or the surrounding areas.

Stephenson County Court Closings

Stephenson County is part of the Illinois 15th Judicial Circuit and their information update as of March 16th, 2020 can be found at this link.

Your case is likely a Stephenson County matter if you are in Freeport, Dakota, Davis, Cedarville, Lena, and the surrounding areas.

Ogle County Court Closings

Also in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, the latest Ogle County updates can be found on their website.

If you live or were charged in Byron, Polo, Davis Junction, Stillman Valley, Oregon, Rochelle, or the surrounding areas, your matter probably is under the jurisdiction of Ogle County.

I still have questions. Who can I call?

We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re here for you at 815-200-8802. If your local circuit court information does not address all of your questions, please consider setting up a Free Initial Consultation with one of our attorneys for guidance.

We’ll get through this together.

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