Handling a Traffic Citation in Illinois
For many people, an occasional traffic ticket is viewed as little more than one of the costs of a driving a car. They make their car payments, pay their insurance premiums, and, once in a while, pay a fine for speeding or running a red light. Others, however, take traffic violations much more seriously, and, to a certain extent, rightly so. Accumulating too many citations can lead to the suspension of your driving privilege, creating serious challenges to your ability to work, travel, and care for your family. It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when you have been issued a traffic citation, and a defense attorney can help you through the process.
Sign and Drive
Prior to 2015, being cited for a traffic violation meant that you could be forced to surrender your driver’s license to the issuing officer as security that you would respond to your ticket. Your license would be returned if and when you paid your fine, appeared in court to dispute the citation, or provided a cash bond at the police station in place of your license.
Several years ago, however, the law was changed throughout the state prohibiting law enforcement from seizing drivers’ licenses as bail. Under the current law, when you are pulled over and issued a ticket, you will be required to sign an acknowledgement of the citation, promising to respond appropriately in accordance with the terms printed on the ticket. You will then be free to go about your business.
How to Respond
Your response to the citation will depend upon your decision to plead guilty or not guilty. By making arrangements to pay the fine, you are considered to be pleading guilty and your driving record will be affected according to the law. Most jurisdictions allow you to pay the fine by mail, in person, or online. Once the fine is paid, the case is essentially closed and the prescribed number of points are added to your driving record.
If you decide to plead not guilty, you will be given a date to appear in court for a hearing regarding your case. You will have the opportunity to dispute the facts of your citation or the manner in which it was issued. If you are found guilty, you are responsible for paying the original fine, plus court costs, and the appropriate number of points will be added to your record. If you are found not guilty, you will not be required to pay the fine and no points will be added.
Get Legal Help
Before you make a decision on your traffic citation, contact an experienced Will County traffic violations attorney. We will help you understand your options and whether disputing the ticket is ultimately in your best interest. Call 815-740-4025 for your free consultation today.