Traffic Ticket FAQ in Illinois
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in IL?
Most IL tickets include specific instructions. The most common options are:
- Plead guilty, pay a fine, and receive a conviction.
- Plead guilty, pay a fine, and attend traffic school to avoid a conviction on your driving record.
- Plead not guilty and contest the ticket in court.
Your ticket also will state whether you're required to appear at a hearing. Generally, this depends on your violation and is regardless of which option you choose (and are eligible for).
How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?
Depending on your situation, you might be able to get your IL traffic ticket dismissed by:
- Attending traffic school. You'll still have to plead guilty and pay a ticket fine, but it will keep the conviction from appearing on your driving record. Note that not everyone is eligible; generally it depends on the county in which you received the ticket.
- Showing satisfying evidence. Some officers and courts will allow you to show proof of insurance or registration within a certain period of time if you're initially ticketed for driving without it.
- Contesting the ticket in court and receive a not guilty verdict.
Look for any special instructions on your ticket, consider the nature of the violation, and talk with a traffic ticket attorney before deciding the best route.
What if I have a Illinois CDL and get a traffic ticket?
For the most part, you'll handle the traffic ticket the same way someone with a regular driver's license would; only, you'll need to inform your employer (and the SOS, if it's an out-of-state ticket) within 30 days of receiving the ticket.
Also, because you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you might face stiffer penalties. Check our Ticket Fines & Penalties section for more details.
What if I am a minor and get a traffic ticket?
Basically, you'll pay or fight your ticket like anyone else, but you face more severe penalties (such as license suspension and revocation) for certain violations than older drivers.
Check Chapter 3 of the Illinois Rules of the Road for more details.
What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket while driving with an instruction permit?
It'll slow you down, as far as moving forward in the GDL process goes. You must remain conviction-free for nine months before you can move from the permit phase to the initial licensing phase.
Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a IL traffic ticket I got while riding?
Probably not. When a judge gives the option to enroll in traffic school to keep a conviction and its related points from showing up on a driver's record, it's usually the Traffic Safety School at Northwestern University for Public Safety―the same traffic school a person would attend for a violation while driving a regular motor vehicle.
Can I take a traffic safety school to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?
Yes, and you have a couple options. You can either:
- Attend traffic safety school as a court-ordered (or offered) option in order to keep a violation and its related points from showing up on your driving record.
- Voluntarily enroll in traffic school to reduce your driving record points.
Note that neither is a sure thing. Typically, attending traffic safety school to keep a conviction off your driving record is only offered in certain counties; voluntarily enrolling for point removal can be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Learn more at our Defensive Driving section.
Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?
Your driving record lets you know things like:
- Whether the applicable convictions were removed from your record after attending traffic school.
- How many points you've incurred, and how close to suspension or revocation you are.
Once you have this information, you can take the necessary steps (or make the necessary corrections) to get your driving record in good standing.
Learn more about obtaining IL driving records.
What is the cost of my traffic ticket?
Traffic ticket costs vary by:
- County or municipality. One traffic ticket fine in one county might cost more or less than the fine for the same offense in another county.
- Court fees and other applicable surcharges.
How many points will I get if convicted?
Points range from 5 points to 50 points, and the number you get will depend on the violation―or number of violations―of which you're convicted.
To get an idea, you can incur 25 points for failing to stop and exchange information after an accident that causes property damage, 20 points for failing to yield to the right-of-way at an intersection, and 50 points for speeding 25 MPH or more over the posted speed limit.
Learn more about the IL point system.
Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?
No. Each county or municipality sets its traffic ticket fines. Your ticket should include information about the fine and other costs, but if it doesn't you can contact your court for details.
How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?
You can't. You must either contact your court or the SOS. Check our section on Lost Traffic Tickets for details.
Should I hire a traffic ticket attorney?
Consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney whenever you plan to contest your ticket in court, and especially if your violation is a serious one that carries suspension or revocation, or involves alcohol or controlled substances.
Some courts recommend hiring a traffic ticket lawyer if you need special considerations that aren't granted often, such as a hearing continuance.
How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?
If you commit 3 violations or more in 12 months, your license will either be:
If you're under 21 years old, you'll be lose your license for committing 2 violations or more within 24 months.
The same is true if you're a repeat offender (meaning your license has been suspended before); however, repeat offenders generally get longer suspension periods.