Thursday, February 4, 2016
How to Request a Continuance in Chicago Eviction Court
Normally, in a Chicago eviction case, your first court date is going to be your trial date. You are generally entitled to a brief continuance (a new court date) if you ask for one.
If you want a continuance, there is a special way to ask for it. When your case is called, approach the bench where the judge is sitting, and when the judge looks at you and asks you “what do have to say?,” just say “I want a continuance to get a lawyer", or "consult with a lawyer", or "to get evidence" or "have a witness come here.” That's all you should say. Don't say anything else. Tenants are generally granted a one-week continuance without any problem.
The reason for not saying anything more is that once you start telling the judge your side of the case, you have started your trial. If you then realize that you need a witness, want to hire a lawyer, or need to get some papers you left at home, it is very unlikely that the judge will grant you a continuance then. I see tenants with great defenses lose because they didn’t ask for a continuance and they went to trial unprepared. Don’t let it happen to you.