Typically, you are only required to appear in court if your traffic ticket is marked as “Must Appear” or “Court Appearance Required”. On most tickets, a box will be checked by the officer that confirms whether you need to appear in court. These traffic tickets will also contain a court date, time and location. Traffic tickets that have a required court appearance are most often issued for violations which create a great potential for harm or carry mandatory minimum penalties such as an automatic driver’s license suspension. For many of these cases, it may still be possible for a traffic attorney to appear on your behalf and avoid the need for you to be personally present in court.
Traffic tickets that indicate “No Court Appearance Required” will also contain options such as how to pay the ticket or request a court date. While you may be told that these traffic violations are punishable only by a fine, there is more to first consider before just paying the ticket. Paying a moving violation will result in a conviction being reported to the Secretary of State. A conviction will appear on your public driving record and can negatively impact your insurance rates. In addition, two convictions within 24 months will result in a license suspension or revocation for drivers under 21 years of age. Three convictions within any 12 month period will result in a license suspension or revocation for those 21 years of age or older. As a result, simply paying your ticket can be a costly mistake.
The following violations are some of the most common offenses that require a court appearance in Illinois: