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Fight Traffic Ticket in Illinois

Don't get angry when you receive a ticket you don't deserve—fight it.

You can always plead "not guilty" to your Illinois traffic ticket and exercise your right to take the issue to court.

Read below to find out more about what you can expect during the process.

Pleading Not Guilty in Illinois

There is no state-wide process in place for fighting an Illinois traffic ticket. Specific details vary by county.

However, no matter where your ticket was originally issued, step one is informing the court that you will contest your citation.

Your IL traffic ticket will have all the information you need to do this, including:

  • Which court to contact.
  • Phone numbers and addresses.
  • How to contact the court—whether:
    • In person.
    • By mail.
    • By phone.
    • Online.
      • Only available for certain cases, in certain districts. See your ticket for more details.
  • A timeline by which to respond.
    • If you miss this deadline, you could face penalties such as:
      • Higher fines.
      • Losing your option for pleading "not guilty."

After getting in touch with the appropriate judiciary official, you'll be issued a court date (if one wasn't already given to you on your ticket) to fight your Illinois traffic ticket. You will have an arraignment on your initial court date where you will plead “not guilty.”

*NOTE: When pleading not guilty, you're taking the legal stance that you did not violate the law(s) in question. It's highly recommended to consider any evidence that will substantiate your claim before going to court.

(Traffic) School Is in Session

You can earn more than good grades with a traffic course. Many courts may offer to dismiss your case if you PLEAD GUILTY and complete a class.

Find out how some extra time in school may help you spend less time in court.

Fighting Your IL Traffic Ticket

Unless you hire an Illinois traffic ticket lawyer, you'll be expected to represent yourself in court. Illinois does not provide court-appointed attorneys for traffic cases.

Once your official plea is recorded, the court will schedule your trial. There's no guarantee that this will be held on the same date, so be prepared for several trips to the courthouse.

At your trial, you or your attorney will get the chance to:

  • Question a police department representative.
  • Argue the law(s) in question.
  • Bring in witnesses.
  • Present other evidence.

At the conclusion of your case, the judiciary official in charge will render a decision, finding you guilty or not guilty.

Potential Costs

When determining whether to take your ticket to court, keep the bigger financial picture in mind.

Fighting your IL traffic ticket could come with a number of different costs, including any or all of the following:

  • Attorney fees.
  • Additional court fines if you lose.
  • Time off work to attend court.
  • A higher auto insurance rate.
Insurance Rate Up? What's Up?

Not sure how fighting your ticket relates to your auto insurance rate? Find out more about the process and how to avoid higher insurance rates if you lose your case.

Consequences of Fighting Your Ticket

At the conclusion of your trial, you'll be ruled either guilty or not guilty.

If you are found not guilty, the issue is resolved. Your case will be dismissed and you will NOT:

  • Have the violation on your Illinois driving record.
  • Need to pay the traffic ticket fine.

If you are ruled guilty, however, the incident will stay on your driving record, and you may also have to:

  • Pay the original fine.
  • Pay additional court fees.
  • Face additional penalties.

Being found guilty can also lead to other consequences, depending on the severity of the violation. After losing your case, you could also potentially:

Exact outcomes are found on a case-by-case basis. Ask a court official or your traffic ticket attorney about any other potential consequences of losing your case.

Going on the Record

When you go to court, the fate of your driving record hangs in the balance! Make sure the document accurately reflects the outcome of your trial by ordering a copy of your IL driving record for review.

Missing Your Court Date

The penalties for missing your court date could be just as bad as losing your case—or worse.

Again, these repercussions are issued on a case-by-case basis, but you could face any or all of the following consequences for missing your court date:

  • Points added to your license.
  • A warrant issued for your arrest.
  • The original violation staying on your driving record.
  • Additional fines and fees.
  • License suspension.

If you realize you won't be able to make your court date, it's highly recommended to call the appropriate court as soon as possible and ask to reschedule.

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