Do I need a lawyer for my Illinois Traffic Ticket?
You should always seek legal advice when it comes traffic tickets. No one should step into court without understanding their options and the consequences of a conviction. Receiving a traffic ticket and appearing in court can be confusing and stressful. An experienced lawyer can help guide you and achieve the most favorable outcome while minimizing any negative effect on your license.
Do I have to go to court?
Typically, your traffic ticket will indicate whether a court appearance is required. However, the general rule, with certain exceptions, is that you only have to appear if a conviction could result in jail time. If you are unsure, you may contact the clerk of the court for more information.
In any case, it is important to note that simply mailing in payment for your moving violation is a plea of guilty, which will result in a conviction. The conviction will appear on your driving record. Therefore, except under rare circumstances, it is important that you DO NOT mail in payment.
If you are unable to appear on your court date, depending on the nature of the violation, it is sometimes possible for an attorney to appear on your behalf. In addition, it may be possible to have the court date changed with the judge's permission. You should speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your options.
Will a traffic ticket affect my auto insurance rates?
Your insurance rates may increase after receiving an traffic ticket in Illinois. Typically, your insurance rates will not increase if your traffic ticket is dismissed, if you are found not guilty, or if you are placed on court supervision. Increases will depend on the type of violation and your specific insurance policy. Speak with a traffic ticket attorney or contact your insurance provider to find out the potential consequences.
Will my driver's license be suspended?
Traffic tickets may result in the suspension of your license. Specifically, in Illinois, drivers with 3 moving violations within 12 months will have their license suspended for 3 months or longer depending on the nature of the violation. Additionally, the length of suspension can be longer if the driver has been previously suspended. In certain cases, 3 violations may result in a revocation of your license, depending again on the nature of the violation. For drivers who are younger than 21, 2 moving violations in 24 months will cause a suspension. Also, it is important to note that driving on a suspended or revoked license carries serious consequences.
A conviction on certain offenses, such as passing a stopped school bus, will cause a license suspension. In these cases, it is especially critical to attend court with an experienced attorney.
Can I attend traffic school?
If you have a fairly clean driving record, you may have the option of taking traffic school and receiving court supervision. Completing the requirements for traffic school will prevent a conviction from being entered. Usually, with certain exceptions, you must still appear in court to receive such a disposition. Regardless, traffic school requires spending time and money that most would like to avoid. You may be able to avoid traffic school altogether by attending court with an experienced attorney.
Will my CDL be cancelled?
A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle ("CMV") if while driving a CMV the driver either commits 2 "serious traffic violations" within a 3-year period or commit 3 such violations within a 3-year period. 2 serious violations with 3 years will lead to a minimum 2-month disqualification while 3 violations within the same period will result in a minimum 4-month disqualification.
Serious traffic violations include exceeding the speed limit by 15mph or more as well as reckless driving. Other examples include lane change violations and following too closely.
Is supervision an option for a CDL Operator?
Court supervision on a traffic ticket will not prevent the cancellation of your CDL as supervision is viewed in the same light as a conviction for this purpose. Commercial drivers are subject to more severe license consequences than standard operators. CDL cases must be handled accordingly. As a result, they often require an amendment to the original charge, or trial when appropriate.