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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Illinois

Traffic tickets in Illinois State are notices that officers of the state's law enforcement agency issue to road users for the violation of traffic rules and regulations. Traffic violations can include DUI, reckless driving, overspeeding, running a red light, and driving without a license. Minor offenses, such as speeding above the limit and broken tail light, incur fines that offenders may pay off without passing through the state's judicial process. However, paying off fines is usually considered an admission of guilt and may be regarded as a conviction per Illinois state laws. Convictions typically reflect as points on an offender's driving record for at least five years. If a driver accumulates three or more offenses during a 12-month period, it may lead to suspension or revocation of their driving license.

If a traffic violator has a good driving record, they may qualify to plead guilty and request an order for supervision. Offenders may also be required to pay a fine and attend traffic school without any convictions incurred. During the supervision period, the driver is expected to incur no further offenses or convictions.

Alternatively, drivers may choose to contest traffic tickets and plead not guilty to request a trial court date. Court dates are assigned within 21 days of the ticket issuance, and offenders are notified via mail. Failure to appear in court may result in a conviction. When a traffic case goes to trial, the defendant may resolve the case by agreeing on a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Traffic cases are usually heard by a presiding judge who gives a verdict after a presentation from all the parties involved. However, a defendant reserves the right to request a trial by jury under state law. The final verdict will depend primarily on the severity of the offense and arguments presented by both the defendant and the prosecutor.

Records of traffic violations and other related public records may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These sites expedite the record search process by enabling inquirers to lookup multiple records, across multiple jurisdictions per query. To use these search engines, interested parties are typically required to provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved

Since third-party sites are managed by private companies, record availability, accuracy, and validity may not be guaranteed.

Is it Worth it To Fight a Traffic Ticket in Illinois?

If an offender contests traffic tickets at an Illinois traffic court and loses, the presiding judge declares a verdict that may prescribe additional penalties apart from the fine, depending on the severity of the case. Fighting traffic tickets may also prove to be time consuming. Compared to pleading guilty to avoid a trial, fighting traffic tickets may be more expensive due to court costs and attorney fees. However, if offenders feel they don't deserve a traffic ticket, they may contest traffic tickets. If an offender isn't required to appear in court, they may choose to plead guilty to traffic charges and request an order for supervision. Offenders may escape convictions after paying fines and attending a state traffic school. To be eligible for this, drivers should be above 21 years of age and not have any prior convictions at least twelve months before the ticket issuance.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Illinois

Persons issued traffic tickets may decide to plead not guilty and contest the charges. The traffic tickets contain information on how to notify the appropriate court of their intentions. Under state laws, a date for a first court hearing is assigned no less than 14 days and no more than 60 days from the ticket issuance. The defendants may prepare and present their arguments to the court for the judge to give a verdict.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court

Fighting a traffic ticket in Illinois usually requires motorists to appear in court. If a motorist pleads not guilty to the issuance of a ticket, they are tried in an Illinois traffic court. However, defendants may cut court proceedings short if they successfully negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor and notify the judge. Failure to appear in court may result in a conviction.

How do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Illinois?

Persons charged with traffic violations may request a mitigation hearing in a bid to explain the traffic violation event to a judge. This may result in a fine reduction, a monthly payment plan, or community service. A mitigation hearing request may be put in writing and submitted to the traffic court in the county where the offense occurred. Defendants cannot appeal a judge's decision in a mitigation hearing.

Can you Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Illinois?

An order for court supervision can lead to the dismissal of a speeding ticket in Illinois. Basically, offenders plead guilty but do not get a conviction for their offense. Offenders receiving court supervision may pay fines and attend traffic school for a period specified by the court. Upon successful completion of the driving school with no further charges incurred during the term, the court may dismiss the speeding ticket, and the infraction may not affect the offender's driving record. The following factors disqualify offenders from receiving a court supervision order:

  • If the traffic offender is below 21
  • If the speeding ticket is in a school zone
  • Poor driving record
  • If the offender already had a prior court supervision order within the last 12 months

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Illinois

If an offender pleads guilty after the issuance of a traffic ticket, it is legally seen as an admission of guilt. They are required to pay the fine stated in the traffic ticket. Pleading guilty to traffic charges also incurs a conviction on an offender's driving record. The Illinois Secretary of State's office allocates points for convictions on motorists' driving records. Accumulation of points under the point system may lead to the suspension or revocation of offenders' driver's licenses. Some offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, lead to immediate suspension or withdrawal of a driver's license.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Illinois

If motorists who are issued traffic tickets decide to plead not guilty, they may need to hire a traffic law attorney to provide legal representation or counsel. Traffic law attorneys are knowledgeable about Illinois traffic laws and may be able to get tickets dismissed or negotiate good plea bargains with prosecutors.

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