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    Meaning of Cause Number in Indiana

    What is this Cause Number Thingy?

     Posted Jun 14, 2018 | Written by Matt Chapel, Trial Lawyer

     Left: Image of Ohio Cause Number

            Regardless of the reason why, you must be curious about what function a CAUSE NUMBER serves, it is simple to grasp how to use the CAUSE NUMBER to help you keep track of the course of your case.

    A CAUSE NUMBER is simply the number that the Clerk of Courts office assigns to ANY case that is opened in the particular court that the action involving you has been brought.

          When looking at your CAUSE NUMBER, you will see 4 separate sets of numbers or letters or numbers and letter, separated by a dash, similar to this example: 01D01-1801-IF-0001. Each set of characters helps to identify the specific court the case is in, the year and month that the case was opened, the type of case and the number for that case.

           COURT                   YEAR & MONTH FILED         TYPE of CASE             CASE NUMBER

    01D01                                  1801                             IF                               0001

         In this example, we can determine by the CAUSE NUMBER that the offense charged is an INFRACTION, or in plain terms, it is a traffic ticket that is the first traffic ticket issued in Adams County in January of 2018. The Judge will be the Honorable Patrick Miller who is the only Superior Court Judge elected in Adams County and all hearings will take place in the Superior Court which is on the street west of the Adams County Courthouse.

         So . . . how did I get all of that information from the CAUSE NUMBER?

    THE COURT IDENTIFIER – “Numbers – Letter – Numbers” (01D01):

         The Indiana Court system is made up of two different types of county courts: Circuit Court and Superior Court. And, in some counties, there can be multiple judges for each court. In this example, the 01D01 is the unique identifier for the Adams County Superior Court. The Numbers BEFORE the Letter tell us the County. The Clerks of Courts for the State of Indiana identify counties numerically to relate to an alphabetical listing of counties. In Northeast Indiana, the Counties are given the following numbers:

    Adams County . . . . . . . . . . . . 01

    Allen County . . . . . . . . . . . ..... 02

    DeKalb County . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    Elkhart County . . . . . . . . . . ....20

    Fulton County . . . . . . . . . . . ...25

    Grant County . . . . . . . . . . ...... 27

    Huntington County . . . . . . . . . 35

    Jay County . . . . . . . . . . . .........38

    Kosciusko County . . . . . . . . . ..43

    Lagrange County . . . . . . . . . ....44

    Marshall County. . . . .. . . . . . . 50

    Miami County . . . . . . . . . . . ....52

    Noble County . . . . . . . . . . . .... 57

    St. Joseph County . . . . . . . ... 71

    Steuben County . . . . . . . . . .. .76

    Wabash County . . . . . . . . . .... 85

    Wells County . . . . . . . . . . . .....90

    Whitley County . . . . . . . . . ..... 92

    The Letter tells you the type of court – either it is the Circuit Court or it will be in a Superior Court.

    C = Circuit Court

    D = Superior Court

         The numbers AFTER the letter tell you which specific Superior Court or Circuit Court is presiding over your case. In our example (01D01-1801-IF-001), the court is Superior Court 1. This is the court where the elected Superior Court Judge Patrick Miller presides.

         Other counties, such as Allen, DeKalb and Elkhart Counties have multiple Superior Court judges which means that each judge has his or her separate courtroom.


         After the Court Identifier, there is a dash and then a number of 4 digits. The first two numbers are the year and the second two numbers are the month. The Clerks of Courts were not concerned with the particular date of the filing.


         In our example, the type of case is an INFRACTION. Generally speaking, an infraction is the designation that the Clerks of Courts give to a case that begins with a ticket or citation being issued. In other words, it does not begin with an arrest where you have been detained, handcuffed and booked at the County Jail.

    The most common Letter Designations that are used by the Clerks of Courts for Criminal cases are:



    F1 Felony Level 1

    F2 Felony Level 2

    F3 Felony Level 3

    F4 Felony Level 4

    F5 Felony Level 5

    F6 Felony Level 6

         For a complete list of the Letter Designation for different categories of cases, go to:


         The last set of numbers after the CASE TYPE is simply the specific identifying number for your case. In this example, the CASE NUMBER is 0001. The numbers are simply assigned by the Clerk of Courts in the order that the cases are filed. Consequently, the numbers that are assigned to cases that are filed in January are “smaller” than the numbers that are assigned in December.


         It has been my experience that a client who is up to date with what is going on with his or her case is an informed client. Clients that keep themselves informed are usually good assets for the attorney because they care about what is occurring, they consider options and possibilities that their attorney doesn’t consider and they show they have their head in the game. In other words, an engaged client is not just an asset for justice over all, but more importantly for him or herself.


    To pull up your case, check the Counties below and either Go to or Simply enter your unique cause number and review the entries that have been made in the record of your case by the Clerk of Courts. If you see something that you do not understand or which appears to be inaccurate, call your attorney and gain more information that will help you to understand where you stand.


    Adams County NO                       Y

    Allen County Y                             Y

    Blackford County Y                     Y

    Dekalb County Y                         Y

    Elkhart County Y                        Y

    Fulton County Y                         Y

    Grant County Y                          Y

    Huntington County Y                  Y

    Jay County NO                            Y

    Kosciusko County NO                 Y

    Lagrange County NO                   Y

    Marshall County Y                       Y

    Miami County NO                        Y

    Noble County NO                         Y

    Steuben County Y                       Y

    St. Joseph County Y                   Y

    Wabash County NO                     Y

    Wells County NO                         Y

    Whitley County NO                       Y

         If you have questions about a matter that is pending before a court in either Indiana or Ohio, get in contact with Matt. He will be help you in any way that he can. Call him at 260-387-6236, visit his website at or email him at [email protected]