Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers
Traffic Tickets in Illinois
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Most people have heard the phrase “Driving Is A Privilege, Not A Right.” It is true that you do not have a right to drive. In the eyes of the law, you earn the privilege to drive based on your skills (passing the test) and by agreeing to follow the rules of the road.
When you break traffic rules, the Illinois Secretary of State can take away your driving privileges. Therefore, it is a smart idea to fight traffic tickets in Illinois and protect your driving privileges.
Illinois categorizes most traffic offenses as either petty or misdemeanor.
Petty offenses are less serious than misdemeanors. But that does not mean you should ignore or simply pay your petty ticket.
Types of Petty Offenses
Petty tickets are the common ones that many people have received. There are too many types of petty offenses to name here, but common ones include:
- stop sign violations;
- minor speeding tickets; and
- lane change violations.
Petty offenses may have serious negative consequences. They always come with a fine. The amount can vary, but sometimes it is greater than one thousand dollars, plus court costs.
A conviction on a petty offense may also result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
This can happen if you are convicted of a “more serious” petty offense such as:
- not stopping for a school bus that is loading or unloading children;
- speeding through a construction zone; or
- failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
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.
You cannot be sentenced to imprisonment for a petty ticket conviction.
Understanding Your Ticket
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 request a trial.
You must notify the court if you choose to plead not guilty. You will then receive a court date.
Court Appearance Required
If you are cited for a more serious petty violation, your appearance in court is required. It is highly recommended that you hire a traffic attorney because you are likely facing higher fines and a possible suspension of your driver’s license.
Hiring an Attorney
You have the right to hire an attorney to defend you. But, an attorney will not be appointed for you when charged with a petty offense.
Many people choose to hire an attorney to defend their petty offense. There are many reasons for doing so. Depending on your situation, the benefits of hiring an attorney may include:
- having the attorney review your driving background;
- having the attorney advise you;
- having the attorney appear in court on your behalf;
- having the attorney negotiate with the prosecutor;
- having the attorney review the case for technicalities;
- having the attorney take the case to trial.
Driver Defense Team provides all of these services. Every day our clients experience the benefit of hiring an experienced traffic attorney.
If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, your attorney should be present on the first court date. Many judges will not allow a continuance if you do not have an attorney present.
If you mail your ticket in, you will have no chance of getting it dismissed.
If you go to court by yourself, the judge will simply ask you, “Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” If you say “guilty” the judge will issue a sentence. If you say “not guilty” you will have to conduct a trial and possibly receive harsher penalties.
When you hire an experienced traffic attorney, additional options become available. Primarily, your attorney’s ability to negotiate with the prosecutor.
Negotiations may lead to very favorable outcomes for you, such as:
- a dismissal;
- the prosecutor agreeing to amend the charge to a lesser offense;
- a reduced fine or fee;
- supervision when it was not otherwise available;
- supervision for a lesser period of time;
- driver’s school instead of a fine;
- community service instead of a large fine.
The attorneys at Driver Defense Team are in court every day. We have developed familiarity with the prosecutors and judges. This experience helps us when defending your petty offense. Fill out the form below or call us today to receive a free consultation and a price quote to handle your case.