Where can I get legal advice?
The Circuit Clerk’s Office is prohibited by law from giving legal advice. McHenry County Administrative Order 93-4 explains the fact that court personnel are specifically prohibited by law from giving out legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should seek the assistance of an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, listed below are some contacts for obtaining legal assistance, in addition to resources for locating an attorney.
1. McHenry County Law Library / Self-Help Legal Center
McHenry County Government Center – Room 368
2200 N. Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL 60098
Library/Self-Help Legal Center Hours: Open 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
Closed: All Court Holidays
The Self-Help Legal Center was established to assist individuals who are not able to retain attorneys to represent them in court proceedings. A computer "navigator" is available in the Law Library to assist individuals with their own legal research. The Self-Help Legal Center offers: user-friendly forms & instructions, staff assistance, public access to computers, legal research materials and procedural information. The Self-Help Center's online system is available at http://mchenry.illinoislegalaid.org
2. Prairie State Legal Services (CIVIL CASES ONLY)
Waukegan Office (Serving Lake & McHenry Counties)
325 W. Washington St., Suite 100
Waukegan, IL 60085
3. McHenry County Public Defender (CRIMINAL CASES ONLY)
2200 N. Seminary Ave.
Woodstock, IL 60098
4. Illinois Legal Aid
Illinois Legal Aid Online is an online resource that provides easy to understand legal information and assistance to the public and self-represented persons.
5. McHenry County Bar Association
110 S. Johnson St., Suite 211
Woodstock, IL 60098
6. Illinois State Bar Association
Statewide Lawyer Directory
(217) 525-5297 or (800) 922-8757
Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Can I Change my Court Date?
The Circuit Clerk’s office is NOT allowed to delay the court date given to you by the police officer. We do NOT accept phone calls or letters requesting that court dates be changed because a Defendant is unable to appear on their scheduled date. You have four options available to you if you cannot appear on the date scheduled on your ticket:
1. Send a friend or family member to appear in court for you and ask the Judge for a continuance. There is NO guarantee the Judge will grant your request for a continuance.
2. Request to have your court appearance date moved to an EARLIER date. This is only available on limited dates when the municipality’s prosecutor is scheduled to be in court. Call the Traffic Division at (815) 334-4190 for more information about making a motion for an "Early Plea Date."
3. If you are eligible to pay your ticket without appearing in court, pay your ticket BEFORE your scheduled court appearance date. See the PAYING YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET WITHOUT A COURT APPEARANCE section for instructions.
4. As a last resort, call the Traffic Division at (815) 334-4190 the day after your court date to find out what happened to your case in court. You should be warned that failure to appear can subject you to arrest, summons, bond forfeiture, suspension of driving privileges and/or additional costs.
I have posted bond for a defendant, do I get my money back?
If you have posted bond for a Defendant in a Traffic or Criminal case, you should read the Bail Bond form that you signed when posting the bond:
NOTICE TO PERSON PROVIDING BAIL MONEY OTHER THAN THE DEFENDANT
I hereby acknowledge that I have posted bail for the Defendant named above. I further understand that if the Defendant fails to comply with the conditions of this bail bond, that the Court shall enter an order declaring the bail to be forfeited and used to pay costs, attorney’s fees, fines or other purposes authorized by the Court. Further, I understand that the Court may, at it’s discretion, order any or all of the bail bond deposited to be used for fines, costs, fees, or restitution at the time of sentencing without regard to prior assignment.
The above section of the Bail Bond form explains that if the Defendant you posted bond for is sentenced to pay a fine and fees, the bond money will be applied towards the fine and fees. The form also explains that even if there are not fine and fees assessed by the Court, if you only posted 10 percent of the bail amount, the Clerk shall retain 10 percent of the bond amount as bail bond costs. If there is any bond left to be refunded after paying the fine and fees, it will be refunded to the person listed as posting the bond on the Bail Bond form. The Circuit Clerk will mail the refund to the address listed on the Bail Bond form.
How do I update my address with the Circuit Court?
It is the Defendant’s responsibility to keep the Circuit Clerk’s Office informed of their current address. We will mail court notices, bond refunds, driver’s licenses, etc. to whatever address is listed on your ticket or complaint. If this is not your current address, it is to your responsibility and to your advantage to update the Circuit Clerk’s Office with your new address. You can call the Traffic Division at (815) 334-4190 with your new address, or mail the form below to the following address:
McHenry County Circuit Clerk
Attention: Traffic Division
2200 N. Seminary Ave., Room 136
Woodstock, IL 60098-2637
Address Change Form
I was involved in a personal injury accident, can I pay my ticket through the mail?
If there was an injury accident involved when you were issued your citation and PERSONAL INJURY is checked as the "Accident Type" on your ticket, you MUST appear in court. Per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 551, a court appearance is required for any traffic offense that results in an accident causing the death of any person or injury to any person other than the accused.
Is my ticket a Moving Violation? What appears on my driving record?
It is the Circuit Clerk’s Office responsibility to report traffic convictions to the Illinois Secretary of State. The Circuit Clerk’s Office CANNOT tell you the following:
*The Circuit Clerk’s Office CANNOT tell you what appears on your driving record
*The Circuit Clerk’s Office CANNOT tell you whether your ticket is a moving violation
*The Circuit Clerk’s Office CANNOT tell you whether your license is valid
These are all questions that must be directed to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. For more information, please call the Illinois Secretary of State at (800) 252-8980 or (217) 782-5448. The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office in McHenry County is located in Woodstock at 458 S. Eastwood Drive (Route 47). They can be reached at: (815) 338-3109. For more information on the Illinois Secretary of State, see www.sos.state.il.us.
How can I Appeal my Case?