Pay Traffic Ticket in IllinoisPage Overview
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine
- Potential option to plea bargain and lesser penalties
- Potential option to attend traffic school to avoid the conviction
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation)
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest traffic ticket at a hearing
- Hire an attorney or represent yourself
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties
- No penalties if found guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees
- Possibility to attend traffic school to avoid incurring a violation and points on your driving record
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
When you receive a traffic ticket in Illinois, you must post bond in the form of cash, a bond card, or your driver’s license.
Depending on the violation and other circumstances (such as location), you’ll be given two options for paying your traffic ticket. Generally, the ticket will notify you of whether you can:
- Plead guilty and pay the traffic ticket without making a court appearance, or,
- Plead guilty and pay the traffic ticket during a required court appearance.
As long as you pay the fine, your bond or driver’s license will be returned; if you don’t pay, and don’t make your court appearance, you’ll lose your bond and your license will be suspended.
If you choose to plead guilty and pay your traffic ticket:
- Your judge might offer the option of pleading to a lesser offense and penalties; usually, you must make a court appearance for such an option.
- Your judge might allow you to attend a traffic school in lieu of receiving a conviction. Often, this depends on where you received the ticket.
- You might be able to avoid court and pay your ticket online (see below); otherwise, you’ll adhere to the payment options and methods your court requires.
- You’ll receive points on your driving record. Each offense has its own point value, so the number will depend on your violation. Check the Illinois vehicle code and point system for more information.
- You might experience an increase in auto insurance rates. Usually, this depends on your provider, policy, and driver history, and probably won’t happen until you renew your coverage.
Note that if:
- You hold a GDL, your process might be more complicated than just paying a fine. For example, you face license suspension for accumulating a certain number of violations.
- DUI charges are handled at the same county courthouse as regular moving violations.
- Parking tickets are handled on a township level and not at any of the county courts.
Your citation will include information on how long you have to respond to your ticket; 30 days is the typical time frame, though it can vary by county. Too, some counties ask you to allow a certain time period for processing, such as seven to 10 days.
Plead Guilty as a IL CDL Driver
On the surface, pleading guilty and paying your fine as a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder is the same as the process for someone with a regular driver’s license.
However, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have a few extra things to consider:
- After receiving a traffic ticket, CMV drivers must report the violation to their employers.
- Typically, CDL holders must report out-of-state violations to their employers or their local SOS location too.
- Penalties are usually much steeper than just fines, driving record points, and increased auto insurance rates.
For more information consult the Illinois Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide.
Plead Not Guilty
Pleading guilty isn’t a requirement; you can fight the ticket in court if you want.
Generally, contesting a traffic ticket means giving up the option to plead to a lesser charge and deal with lesser penalties; in other words, if you’re found guilty, you’ll most likely feel the full force of the penalties. Too, you’ll probably incur additional court costs and traffic attorney fees if you decide to get legal counsel.
It’s a big decision, so check our section on fighting your IL traffic ticket so you can be as prepared as possible.
Some drivers can pay their traffic tickets online via the state’s E-Pay system. Most likely, this will be printed on your ticket if this is an option for you, but the E-Pay website makes it easy to search the government entity in charge of your ticket and find out if you can pay online.
Our section on lost IL traffic tickets can help you retrieve the necessary information for paying your fine as well as all other traffic ticket-related transactions.
If you’re able to pay online, skip on down to our sections on reducing driving record points and auto insurance; otherwise, keep reading.
Some county websites provide information about paying traffic tickets (and even the option to pay online); others aren’t so detailed. Check your county’s website, and at the very least find the telephone number to call for more details.
Typically, traffic tickets include information about acceptable payment forms and methods. Naturally, it varies by county (i.e. some may allow over-the-phone payments; others require payments by mail or in person). Check your ticket for this information, and if you can’t find it, contact your county’s court.
NOTE: Your ticket might state that you’re required to appear in court―even if all you want to do is plead guilty and pay your ticket. The IL traffic ticket court system rarely grants continuances, so if you absolutely can’t make your court date, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a traffic ticket lawyer; otherwise, you face losing your bond and a suspended driver's license.
Drivers who are ticketed in certain counties are eligible to attend traffic school in order to keep a violation (and its points) from appearing on their driving records. When a violation is involved, this option is either granted or prohibited by the court; on a voluntary basis, though, some drivers can attend traffic school to reduce points or become eligible for lower insurance rates.
Check Your Driving Record
Traffic tickets, guilty and not guilty verdicts, driving schools―they all affect your driving record points, and checking your driving record is the only way to make sure it reflects the accurate number of points.
Learn more at our section on the IL point system.
Depending on the provider, the policy, and the driver’s history, an auto insurance company might increase a policyholder’s rates after a traffic violation. Usually, this doesn’t happen until it’s time to renew the policy.
If you’ve entered (or are planning to enter) a guilty plea and paid your ticket, talk with your car insurance agent about how it will affect your rates; then, start comparing insurance quotes online to get a lower rate.Other Topics in This Section