A Motion to Vacate: Bringing Your Traffic Ticket Back To Life
By: Attorney Eric Tibbs
It can be a scary moment when you get a letter from the Illinois Secretary of State telling you that your license is going to be suspended. This can happen when you fail to appear in court for multiple traffic tickets or you fail to appear in court for an insurance ticket. While this is a stressful situation, there is something you can do to reopen your traffic ticket: file a motion to vacate.
A motion to vacate is an action that asks the judge to reopen your case so that a suspension hold may be lifted on your driving record and you can resolve your traffic ticket so that it doesn’t go on your record and, in most cases, make sure it also doesn’t affect your insurance rates.
When you fail to appear in court, there are several actions that the circuit clerk or the judge may take when you fail to appear for a traffic ticket. Your license may be suspended by a judge or the ticket can be entered in as an “automatic conviction” because you failed to appear. This will mean that a fine may be applied to your case and you will owe that. Or the judge can report your “failure to appear” to the Secretary of State, who will then suspend your license, send you the letter, and make you show back up to court to take care of your ticket.
Counties in the Chicagoland area may treat your failure to appear on the traffic ticket differently. Some judges are more difficult and harsh with a motion to vacate, and will only let you reopen the case if you do so in a timely fashion. Some judges also will want to know why you failed to appear for the traffic ticket. Hiring an attorney from Driver Defense Team can help you guide you through the process and what are the most likely scenarios for your traffic ticket. We deal with motion to vacate cases several times per week. Having an attorney not only helps you reopen the case and navigate resolving the ticket, but our attorneys will get the proper paperwork once the case is resolved and hand deliver it to representatives of the Illinois Secretary of State.
A motion to vacate may be even more important for the driver with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). A driver with a CDL who fails to appear for a traffic ticket will not only lose their ability to drive their personal vehicle, but they will lose the ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle professionally. This is why it is even more important to file a motion to vacate as soon as possible so that we can assist you with the process. In addition to vacating your “failure to appear”, as a CDL driver, the traffic ticket will need to be amended to a “non-moving” violation or it could affect your Commercial Driver’s License. Your attorney will have to negotiate with the judge and the prosecutor in order for the ticket to be amended to a “non-moving” violation. The typical citation that the traffic ticket will need to be amended to is an “obstructed windshield” ticket.
Whether you have a standard or commercial driver’s license, it is important to procure an attorney to achieve the best possible outcome on your case. If you or a loved one is in need of an attorney, contact our offices today! (312) 940-8330.