Traffic Tickets in Illinois
At Driver Defense Team, our Illinois traffic ticket defense attorneys have the skills and experience to protect the legal rights and financial interests of our clients. In Illinois, “Driving Is A Privilege, Not A Right.”—and state authorities can take that privilege away. Our traffic ticket defense lawyers can help. If you were cited for a petty traffic violation or a misdemeanor traffic violation, we are standing by, ready to advise you of your options and assist you with your case. For a free, no-commitment review of your traffic ticket, please contact us today.
Illinois Traffic Tickets: Types of Petty Offenses
Petty traffic tickets come in a wide range of different forms. As noted by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), petty offenses are the ones that, at least by themselves, are only punishable by fines—not by imprisonment. Indeed, petty tickets are the common ones that many people have received. While there are too many types of petty offenses to name, here is a list of some of the most common ones cited in Illinois
- Minor speeding tickets;
- Stop sign violations;
- Red light tickets;
- Unsafe lane changes;
- Failure to yield;
- Following too closely;
- Texting while driving; and
- Failure to provide proof of insurance.
What the Penalties for a Traffic Ticket in Illinois?
It would be a mistake to view a “petty offense” as a minor issue. A petty traffic ticket can still carry serious negative consequences. What those consequences will be depends both on the specific nature of the offense and your history of past traffic violations, or lack thereof. To start, they always come with a fine. The amount can vary, but it can reach as high as one thousand dollars, plus court costs. Further, a conviction on a petty offense may also result in the suspension of your driver’s license. If you have previous moving violations on your record, you should call a lawyer before paying a traffic ticket. Your license may be suspended if you are convicted of:
- Failing to stop for a school bus that is loading or unloading children;
- Speeding through a construction zone; or
- Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Beyond that, your driver’s license may also be suspended if you are convicted of three moving violations within a 12-month period. If you’re under 21, it can be suspended after only two convictions. To be clear, you cannot be sentenced to imprisonment for a petty ticket conviction.
Understanding Your Ticket
As explained by the Circuit Court of Cook County, there are two boxes printed on every traffic ticket in Illinois: “Court Appearance Required” or “No Court Appearance Required.” When issuing a citation, a police officer must mark one of the boxes.
No Court Appearance Required
If your traffic ticket indicates that you are not required to appear in court, you have three options:
- Plead guilty and pay the fine without going to court, but receive a conviction on your record;
- Plead guilty and request an order of supervision, pay the required fine and attend traffic safety school; or
- Plead not guilty and have your day in court.
You must notify the court if you choose to plead not guilty. You will then receive a court date.
More serious petty violations, as well as certain combinations of traffic tickets, cause a required appearance in court. However, that does not mean you must appear in court. You can often hire a lawyer to attend court for you. If you call our office, we can discuss the possibility of attending court for you.
What are the Possible Outcomes in an Illinois Traffic Ticket Case?
The most straightforward outcome is simply sending in a traffic ticket and paying the fine. Of course, this means that you are pleading guilty to the offense. If you just pay your ticket, you will have no chance of getting it dismissed. Your case is over and you will have to deal with the driving record and insurance consequences.
If you go to court by yourself, the judge often asks, “Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” If you say “guilty” the judge will issue a sentence. If you say “not guilty” you will be expected to conduct a trial on your own.
By hiring a top-rated Illinois traffic defense lawyer, additional options and outcomes become possible. The benefit of having a traffic lawyer is that they can negotiate directly with the prosecutor, working to secure a resolution that best protects your rights. Negotiations may lead to very favorable outcomes for you, such as:
- An outright dismissal;
- The prosecutor agreeing to amend the charge to a lesser offense;
- A reduced fine or fee;
- Court supervision when it was not otherwise available;
- Supervision for a lesser period of time;
- Driver’s school instead of a fine; or
- Community service instead of a large fine.
Why Hire the Attorneys at Driver Defense Team
With petty traffic offenses, an attorney will not be provided to you by the state. You need to hire a lawyer or you will be forced to handle your case on your own. At Driver Defense Team, we believe in a team-based approach. Our attorneys are in courtrooms in Cook County, DuPage County, and Lake County every day handling a wide range of traffic offenses. When you hire our Chicago traffic ticket lawyers, you will get a legal advocate who will:
- Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your case;
- Review your driving background and record;
- Advise you on your rights and options;
- Appear in court on your behalf;
- Effectively negotiate with the prosecutor;
- Review the case for technicalities; and
- If the best path forward, take your case to trial.
Our Chicago, IL traffic ticket lawyers provide a full range of legal services. We will put in the time and resources needed to get you the best possible outcome—working tirelessly to save you money and save your license. Do not wait to take action: If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, your attorney should be present on the first court date.
Call Our Lawyers for Immediate Assistance with Your Case
At Driver Defense Team, our Chicago traffic ticket attorneys are in court every day. We have developed familiarity with the prosecutors and judges. This experience helps us when defending your petty offense. For a free, fully private case evaluation, please contact us now. With offices in Stone Park and Chicago, we handle traffic ticket cases in Cook County and the suburbs.