Misdemeanor Arraignment

When Your Student Legal Service Attorney cannot be in Court with you:

  1. You should appear in Court at least ten (10) minutes early; leave yourself extra time to find parking and go through court security screening.
  2. The Court Bailiff/Security Officer will ask for your name so the Court knows you are present.
  3. You may be informed by the Court that you are eligible for “Adult Diversion.” Follow all instructions to meet with the Adult Diversion office. Acceptance into “Diversion” means you will have to admit your guilt and do some community service, but you will not have a criminal record.
  4. No Charge. This is the best possible result at arraignment. It means that for a variety of reasons the State of Illinois is not going to bring formal charges against you. Be aware that misdemeanors carry an 18 month Statute of Limitations, which means that the State could change the “No Charge” decision based on further information, etc., during that period of time.
  5. If you are NOT offered diversion, you will be arraigned — formally informed by the Court of the Charge(s) brought against you by the state:
    1. Plead “not guilty” after the Court reads the charges – you are entitled to a written copy of the charges.
    2. Ask for a continuance to obtain counsel at Student Legal Service.
    3. The court will give you a new date for appearance of counsel. Write the date down. Next Court Date: _________________.
    4. Confirm with Student Legal Service the new Court date by calling 333-9053 or at your previously scheduled appointment.
  6. If you or your case is not eligible for Student Legal Service:
    1. You may still request a continuance to hire a private attorney.
    2. You may fill out an eligibility form to obtain the services of the Public Defender’s office. The Court will determine eligibility and appoint counsel at the arraignment. You may be ordered to repay Champaign County the costs of the Public Defender.
  7. Bond: How to get out or keep out of jail.
    1. If you have posted cash bond already, it is very unlikely that the State will request a bond increase; however, if you violate the terms of the bond such as “no contact” with the victim, bond can be increased or revoked.
    2. If you have not posted bond, it will be set by the arraignment judge. Even if you are released on your own recognizance (ROR), you will still need to report to the County Corrections Center to have your case processed: be fingerprinted, be photographed, etc., as a condition of your release.
    3. If you are eventually found guilty, or you enter into a negotiated plea, your posted bond will apply to any fine and court costs mandated by the Court. If your case is dismissed or you are found “not guilty”, your bond will be returned to you with a percentage deducted by the Circuit Clerk; 100% of your bond is never returned.

Reminders for Court

  • Be early.
  • Dress up!
    • No shorts
    • No tank tops or spaghetti straps,
    • No bare midriffs
  • Don’t speak in court unless the judge asks you to, don’t argue, be respectful.
  • Don’t chew gum, eat, or drink in court.
  • Don’t bring paraphernalia or contraband (drugs, etc.) to Court.
  • Turn off your cellular phone.

Helpful Phone Numbers

Emergency Dean 333-0050
Public Defender 384-3714
Circuit Court Clerk 384-3727
Student Legal Service 333-9053