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Traffic Tickets and Violations in Illinois

Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Illinois for various violations of traffic law. Citations generally indicate the statute or code number of the violation, and explain how and when to pay the fine or respond to the ticket. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.

TYPES OF VIOLATIONS

Most traffic tickets in Illinois are issued for what are sometimes called "strict-liability" offenses. In these cases, the only thing required to convict a person of the offense is proof that they committed the act, regardless of any criminal intent. Examples of strict-liability offenses include:

  • Speeding
  • Overdue parking meters
  • Not using turn signals
  • Parking in a handicapped zone without authorization

MOVING VS. NON-MOVING VIOLATIONS

Violations are also classified by whether or not the vehicle was in motion at the type of the incident, and traffic tickets may therefore be for either moving or non-moving violations. Examples of moving violations include: Non-Moving violations include:
  • Parking in a handicapped zone or other illegal parking
  • Driving with an invalid vehicle registration
  • Having expired or missing license plates
  • Leaving a vehicle unattended and running
The majority of traffic violations in Illinois are classified as infractions, which require paying a fine ranging from $50 - $ 350. More serious offenses carry higher fines and/or imprisonment.

YOUR OPTIONS WHEN YOU RECEIVE A CITATION

Many citations do not require a court appearance, and you may admit guilt by paying the ticket directly. The citation will indicate how and by what date to pay the fine. You will get a reminder notice by mail if you do not meet the deadline. You will then have to contact the town/county court where you received the ticket for information on how to pay it. Traffic tickets that do not require you to appear in court can be paid online using the Illinois E-Pay. Most counties allow you to do this. Each county determines what fees can be paid by this method. You will have to enter a guilty plea on the electronic form and also mail the court any original documents, if required. You can pay by MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express card. There is a nominal charge attached with this as well. If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. While you may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, a trial will be scheduled if no agreement is reached. A trial gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF BEING FOUND GUILTY

When you pay a ticket directly, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense, which carries the same consequences as being found guilty of the violation in court. Motorists who either plead guilty directly or are found guilty of an offense should be aware of the following possible consequences:
  • Certain traffic offenses, including speeding and other moving violations, are automatically reported to the Illinois Driver Services Department. Illinois routinely provides information concerning traffic ticket convictions to other states.
  • The Illinois Driver Services Department follows a point system to track violations and their corresponding penalties. Points are added to your driving record which could result in your license being suspended. For more information, see our Point System section.
  • Illinois drivers that accumulate points on their driving record are often subject to higher car insurance premiums.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT TRAFFIC TICKET CONVICTIONS

One of the best ways to reduce the negative implications of traffic violations is to drive safely and not commit any additional offenses. Points on your Illinois license will be reduced, and your driving record may eventually be cleared if you remain free of any additional violations. Smart drivers often choose to take a defensive driving course or traffic school course in order to reduce the points on their license more quickly. Taking a defensive driving course can also help lower the car insurance premiums of drivers whose rates increased following one or more traffic ticket convictions. Some drivers prefer to obtain a new quote for car insurance following a traffic ticket conviction, since often more competitive rates and coverage may be available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Reviews of Traffic Tickets and Violations in Illinois

Speeding tickets for 20 mph or less over the limit are a racket when you go to court in Illinois. The fine increased for me from $120 to $250 because I went to court and plead guilty, having missed the deadline to send in a plea via mail. It would have cost $185 to go to a class and have court supervision if I plead guilty via mail, but the documentation states you may not be eligible and the money paid is non-refundable so why would I take that risk? The prosecutor offered me a $225 fine with court supervision which I thought was ridiculous since the original fine was $120. I declined and plead guilty to the judge and he gave me a $250 fine with court supervision. The consequences are not the same (as stated in this document). I hate Illinois!