Can I Get an Interpreter for Court?

Court interpreters are available in Illinois for those that need them. Interpreters are available to ensure that all participants in the Illinois criminal justice system are given equal access to justice. Justice can only be achieved if all defendants understand what is happening during the court proceedings. If you feel that you need an interpreter, make sure you request one at your first court appearance.

Who Can Use Interpreters

Anyone that does not speak English may use an interpreter. Additionally, those that speak English as a second language and have limited English proficiency (LEP) may use an interpreter. LEP is defined as someone that has a limited ability to speak, write, read or understand English.

Availability of Interpreters

Interpreters are not available for every type of court proceeding. Interpreters are provided in Cook County for:

  • Hearings
  • Bench and Jury Trials
  • Felonies
  • Criminal Misdemeanors
  • Traffic Offenses
  • Juvenile Matters
  • Interviews with Defendants and Witnesses
  • Some Civil Matters: contract disputes, building code violations, mortgage foreclosures, housing, domestic relations

Interpreters are only provided in DuPage for criminal cases. Civil matters do not get an interpreter. However, a deaf person may have an interpreter for any type of court proceeding. Visit the County of DuPage website for more information.

Process to Obtain Interpreter

When you arrive at court, you must tell the court clerk or judge about your need for an interpreter. They will determine whether you need an interpreter. If they determine that you do need an interpreter, the court staff will take care of making the arrangements for the interpreter. You may not directly contact the office for interpreters yourself.

Spanish Interpreters In Building

In Cook County, Spanish and Polish interpreters are in the building every day and rotate between courtrooms. Interpreters for any other language must be requested through judicial order.

Deaf persons in Cook County have a slightly different process for getting interpreters. Any person that is deaf may have an interpreter for any type of court proceeding including jury service. Requests for a sign language interpreter must be made 14 days in advance by submitting the appropriate paperwork. Visit the Circuit Court of Cook County website for more information.

No Cost for Interpreters

Interpreters are provided to those that need them for free. The court covers the cost of the interpreters. This allows that all have access to justice regardless of income.

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

Any time you are charged in a criminal case, it is important to hire a Chicago criminal defense attorney. Chicago criminal defense attorneys can advise you on the best course of action. If you feel that you may need an interpreter during the court proceedings, discuss this with your attorney beforehand. Contact Chicago criminal defense lawyer Dennis F. Dwyer if you have been charged in a criminal case.

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