A Guide to Tulsa County Courthouse
If you have been charged with a crime in Tulsa County, your worries are probably centered around your case. However, many people don’t anticipate the stress of merely getting to their court date on time, and the amount of time they will spend at the courthouse for a short hearing. In this article, we’ll address these practical concerns and go over what you need to know about the Tulsa County Courthouse in order to navigate it successfully and prevent you from missing a court date or receiving a bench warrant.
Getting to the Courthouse
The Tulsa County Courthouse is located at 5th and Boston, right next to the library, and simply getting there can be a challenge. The courthouse sits in the midst of busy, one-way roads that always have construction and traffic, making it difficult to get to your hearing in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure you provide yourself plenty of “buffer” time.
Parking for the Tulsa County Courthouse is also difficult. Here are your options:
- SP+ Parking is a paid lot with uncovered parking right across the street from the courthouse.
- Denver Parking garage is a paid lot with covered parking also across the street from the Tulsa County Courthouse.
- Metered parking is available directly behind the courthouse and under the Denver Parking garage. However, don’t use metered parking if you anticipate being at the courthouse for more than 2 hours.
- Street parking is available throughout downtown, if you can find a spot. This parking fills up very quickly on weekday mornings, when court is often held. If you plan to utilize street parking, we recommend arriving VERY early for your court time. Some of this street parking is free, and some requires that you pay using an app on your phone. It will depend which spot you use, when you get there, and how long you stay there.
To enter the courthouse, you will need to go through security. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get through these lines and into your courtroom. (Security lines can get very long, especially during jury trials.)
There are multiple public entrances to the courthouse and all with metal detectors and security personnel. Upon entering, you will need to place any bags or pocket contents on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed and walk through the metal detector.
You cannot bring in anything that can be used as a weapon. This includes obvious items, such as guns and pocket knives, as well as things you may forget, such as pepper spray or self-defense keychains. Even certain pens, if they look like a weapon, are forbidden. It is best to leave these items in your car, otherwise you will be forced to throw them away.
All arraignments are held on the first floor of the courthouse, typically in Room 173. During an arraignment, the judge will tell you what charges the State has brought against you. This is also where you will hear if the State has chosen to decline charges.
While it’s not required to have an attorney by the time you go to arraignment, we recommend you do. The arraignment docket is very large and the court will address the individuals with attorneys first. This means you will most likely be able to have your arraignment and leave fairly quickly if you have an attorney with you. However, if you have not hired an attorney, you can expect to be there for a few hours. Also, an attorney can help guide you through the process and begin handling the strategy of your case as it is starting.
If you have a case on one of the upper floors of the courthouse, you may need to take the elevators or escalators. There is one area with elevators that go throughout the courthouse, and this is in the middle of the building right by the snack bar. The elevators are very slow and tend to get crowded. Additionally, the building is fairly old and almost always has at least one elevator out of order. If you need to take the elevator, make sure you provide yourself with plenty of time to get to your court hearing.
The escalators only go up to the third floor of the courthouse, and are located around the corner from the snack bar and elevators. We highly recommend taking the escalators if you are going to the second or third floor. If you are going to the fourth or fifth floor, it is faster to take the escalator up to the third floor and then take the stairs. You are able to take the stairs to any floor in the courthouse.
Preliminary Hearing/District Court Arraignment/Trial
After the arraignment stage, your case is assigned to a judge and will not have a single courtroom for each case. This means that just because you were in a particular courtroom for your last court date doesn’t mean you will be in the same courtroom for your next court date. Additionally, the judges change which type of cases they are handling and which courtroom they are located in. Judges will move from handling criminal cases to handling family law cases. If this happens with your judge you will have a new judge and courtroom for your next court date. For the most up to date information about where your judge is located, visit the Tulsa County District Court website.
What if I don’t remember my court date or the judge's name?
If you can’t remember the day or time of your court date, you can reach out to your attorney or utilize OSCN. In the search feature of OSCN, type in your first and last name, and every court case assigned to that name will come up. You can then scroll down to Tulsa County and find the correct case. There may be multiple cases assigned to your name. To find the right one, you need to know how to read the case titles. All criminal cases start with a “CM” or “CF”; if you see a case that starts with a “PO” or “SC,” that is not your criminal case.
The numbers after the CM or CF will always be the year you were charged, so it will look something like “CF-2023-0000” or “CM-2023-0000” The “2023” portion represents the year. This will allow you to find the correct case, even if you have multiple criminal fillings assigned to your name.
The Bottom Line
If you have a criminal case in the Tulsa County Courthouse, it is important to plan ahead. Provide yourself with plenty of extra time to get to your hearing, even if you have been to the courthouse before. Judges regularly switch assignments and rooms, and many factors can determine how busy the courthouse is (such as jury trials). If you have questions, it is important you talk to your attorney as soon as possible to ensure you arrive on time and prepared.