The court system in Illinois assigns court case numbers based upon the type of case and when the case was filed. That means that the case number can provide useful information about the court case if one knows how to interpret the case number. This article provides information on decoding Illinois case numbers.
Format of Illinois case numbers in general
Illinois court case numbers take the form of [year][case type][number filed in that county]. That is to say that the 4-number year, a letter code representing the case type, and a sequence number for cases filed in the county of that type. For example, the first DUI case filed a Rock Island County, IL in the year 2016 would be 2016DT1. The 100th traffic ticket case filed in Rock Island County, IL in the year 2016 would be 2016TR100. Thus, the type of the case and the year it is from can be readily ascertained just by looking at the case number in Illinois.
Civil Cases in Illinois
Below are the letter codes for common Illinois civil case types. These letters go between the year and the sequence number in an Illinois case number.
D – Divorce
F – Family (unmarried couple custody cases)
OP – Order of Protection (restraining order)
L – Civil lawsuits over $50,000.
LM – Civil lawsuits under $50,000 but over the $10,000 limit on small claims.
SC – Small claims (limited to $10,000 in Illinois)
Criminal and Traffic Cases in Illinois
Below are the letter codes for common Illinois criminal case types. These letters go between the year and the sequence number in an Illinois case number.
CF – Felony
CM – Misdemeanor
DT – DUI
TR – Traffic ticket
OV – Ordinance Violation
Notes on Illinois Case Numbers
There are some circumstances where a case number will not tell the whole story in Illinois. For example, a case may be charged as a felony initially, only to be reduced to a misdemeanor at a later time. The case may still keep the felony case number, even though only a misdemeanor is still pending. As such, it is important for a person to discuss their case with their attorney.
In Cook County, which is the county that includes Chicago, Illinois, the case numbering system is unique and does not follow the case numbering system shown above. The rest of the state of Illinois does follow the case numbering system described in this article.