Belmont & Western Courthouse
The Belmont & Western courthouse is located at 2452 West Belmont in Chicago at the intersection of Belmont and Western Avenues. This building doesn’t really look like a court house. It looks more like a police station. That’s because the main building is in fact the Chicago Police 19th District station and the court rooms are merely attached to this building. To help find the location, you can look for the colorful yellow, orange and blue modern sculpture out in front. There is free parking in a lot outside, but it’s limited, so get there early and make sure to read the parking signs because this lot is shared with the Chicago Police Department.
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find that there aren’t a lot of court rooms. Really there are only two, so once you get there it’s relatively easy to find your destination. If your case is a misdemeanor, you’ll find it in the room labeled “Branch 29”, whereas if your case is a more serious felony matter, you’ll find it in “Branch 42”. Just have a seat and wait to speak to your attorney.
SEXNER’S PRO LEGAL TIP: Especially at a very high volume court like the Belmont & Western Branch Court, it’s really important to try to bring an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to court on the very first date if at all possible. Why? Because as is true in life in general, those who are prepared are often rewarded and the same can sometimes be said of certain busy court houses.
Judges usually have wide latitude with respect to dismissing criminal and traffic cases. With some exceptions, they are not required to give multiple continuances (or even a single continuance) to the state or local prosecutor if they choose not to do so. So, if the police officer or victim is not present in court, and the judge believes that they should have been there, the judge may refuse to grant the State a continuance, which in effect, will result in the dismissal of the case. Always good news.
Of course, in order to make this happen, you (the defendant) must be ready and present in court. Being present is easy (just show up), but being “ready” is often another matter. When charged with a traffic or criminal case that has the potential for jail, being “ready” usually means having a lawyer in court with you.
If you don’t have a good lawyer there with you on the first date, the judge may simply send you away and tell you to come back the following month when you’re ready with a lawyer. If this happens, you may miss your very best opportunity to get your case dismissed. So, the best advice is to hire an attorney early on and bring him/her with you on the very first date if at all possible. That will give you your very best chance at success.
Map to Belmont & Western Courthouse
Click here to see other Chicago-area courthouse locations.