Coming to Court
Recognizing the need to ensure the health and safety of litigants, attorneys, visitors, court staff, our Judge, and other individuals entering the court facility, the Court is implementing new operating procedures that outline the process of coming to court.
Below, you will find the new procedures for check-in and appearing before the Court.
Upon arriving on your scheduled court date please:
- Enter the Decatur City Hall building through the front entrance facing Walnut St. and the USPS building. If you go to the courtroom first, you will be directed back to the City Hall lobby to check in.
- Check in at the window with one of our clerks.
- All litigants will appear before the Prosecutor/Judge in the order they were checked in by the court clerk.
- Before your check in can be completed, you must provide the court clerk with a working phone number. This number will be used to reach you when it is time to enter the courtroom for screening.
- Return to you vehicle, once your check-in is complete, and wait for the court clerk to call you when it is your turn to appear.
- You will need to arrive at the chamber doors for screening within 5 minutes of receiving the call from the court clerk. The Court encourages you to remain in the parking area while you wait for the call.
Entering the Courtroom
Please enter the courtroom using the Council Chambers entrance on the east side of the City Hall building, facing Miller St.
Please note, face coverings ARE REQUIRED for all persons entering the court room. Anyone refusing to wear a face covering will not be allowed to enter the court room. Face coverings shall be designed to contain airborne diseases from being spread and be worn over the nose and mouth. Face covers can include, but are not limited to:
- surgical, paper, or cloth masks
- bandanas, scarves, or other cotton or linen fabric
Upon arriving at the chamber entrance you will go through the following screening process:
- Your body temperature will be taken
- You will be asked if you:
- are feeling feverish
- have a cough
- are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- have been in close contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19
- If your temperature is equal to, or greater than, 100.0 F or if you answer "yes" to any of the questions above you will not be allowed to enter the court room.
Inside the Courtroom
The Court will ensure that hand sanitizer dispensers, as well as tissue boxes, are available near all direct courtroom entrances and clearly identified.
Once you have been screened, you will be directed to have a seat in the Gallery. Seating will provide and maintain 6 foot social distancing and will be clearly identified.
The Well is the designated area where you will meet with the Prosecutor to discuss your case. Seating provided will support and maintain social distancing guidelines as you visit with the Prosecutor, and will be clearly identified.
After visiting with the Prosecutor, you will wait to be called to appear before the Judge at the Bench. There will be a clearly identified mark to stand on while in front of the Judge.
After appearing before the Judge and being released, you will exit the courtroom toward the stairwell and check out with the court clerks to receive your court orders and pay any fines/fees due.
Court Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm
The Municipal Court drop box is located on the west side of the City Hall building and is accessible 24 hours a day. Please submit your payment (check or money order only) and/or documents in a sealed envelope and include your name and date of birth or your citation number.
Dress Code & Decorum
During an open court session, each individual is given an opportunity to listen to the Judge’s instructions about his/her case. Talking and other disruptive noise interferes with that interaction. Please refrain from noisy or disruptive behavior and be respectful of all court proceedings. This includes frequent entering and exiting of the courtroom.
Please place your cellular phones on "silent" upon entering the courtroom. No computers, gaming equipment, recording devices, or other disruptive electronic devices are allowed in the courtroom.
Food & Drinks Are Not Allowed
Food, snacks, and drinks are prohibited. Food/drinks are not allowed in the court room. Please finish or discard BEFORE going into court.
Courtroom Dress Code
You are required to dress in a manner that demonstrates respect of the judiciary. It is improper to wear shorts, mini skirts, flip flops, torso revealing garments, or hats. Clothing with offensive slogans, pictures, or gestures are prohibited.
- No weapons of any type are allowed in the court room. This includes pocket/clip knives and any type of pepper spray.
- All persons entering the court room are subject to search.
- All bags, purses, brief cases, back packs, or similar items are subject to search.
- Persons refusing to be searched or to allow a bag search will be denied access to the court.
- Jokes about carrying weapons into the court or threatening any Judge or other court personnel will be taken seriously.
- Any act or comment considered a threat against a Judge or any court personnel will result in immediate expulsion from the court and possible criminal charges.
- Do not approach the Judge’s bench unless directed to do so.
- Do not lean on the Judge’s bench.
Rescheduling A Court Date
Any request for continuance of a court date must be received NO LESS THAN 3 business days PRIOR to your court date, and must include "just cause," as all requests for continuances must be approved by the Judge.
Additionally, you must be prepared to pay all fines and court costs assessed by the Court on your court date.
Failure to Appear
If you do not answer a citation within the mandated time frame, or you do not appear for a scheduled court date, you have failed to appear.
Failure to appear for a citation within 10 business days (15 calendar days) from the date of the offense may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.
Failure to appear for a scheduled court date, without having properly requested a continuance, may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.
*A telephone call DOES NOT constitute an appearance in court.