When can I ask for a continuance of my trial?

A continuance is not something that is taken lightly by Judges. Generally, continuances are only granted in the most extreme circumstances, where you can show that the delay is being caused in good faith. Specifically, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 231 governs when a Continuance will be allowed. You are able to ask for a continuance due to the absence of material evidence, only when good cause can be shown and when a party has exercised due diligence to try and obtain it. For example, realizing two weeks before the trial that you failed to issue discovery probably wouldn’t be grounds for granting a continuance. However, in a situation where someone issued discovery seven (7) months ago and the records are not yet available, but they have been working to try and obtain them the entire time, might be good grounds for a continuance of an upcoming hearing or trial date.

There are also certain accommodations made pertaining to continuances for members of the United States military. If at a time or war or insurrection, the military member’s service would impair his ability to prosecute or defend the case, then a continuance will be granted.

 

The take away point is that continuances are granted sparingly and for good cause shown, so it is best to be diligent and obtain all discovery necessary for a hearing. This may mean employing an attorney to represent you and so as to ensure that it is done correctly.

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