Do I have to appear in court for my Illinois traffic ticket?

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 that 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 traffic ticket 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:

  • Any traffic violation that is charged as a misdemeanor
  • Failing to secure a child in a moving vehicle
  • Driving without a valid license or permit
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • Operating an uninsured motor vehicle
  • Passing a school bus while loading or unloading
  • Speeding 20 mph or more over the speed limit
  • Speeding in school zone
  • Speeding in a construction zone
  • Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle
  • Any violation where the minimum fine is greater than $95.00 (except truck overweight cases)
  • Any violation resulting in death or personal injury to another
  • Drag racing or street racing
  • Reckless driving
  • Leaving the scene of a property damage accident
  • Fleeing or attempting to elude the police
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while license is suspended, revoked or driver has been placed out of service

If you were issued an Illinois traffic ticket, whether or not you are required to appear in court, contact the traffic attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. in Chicago. Our lawyers have helped thousands of drivers issued traffic tickets throughout Illinois.

Oftentimes, our attorneys can appear in court and resolve your traffic ticket without you. Our priority is keeping your record clean. Our traffic defense attorneys handle moving violations in courthouses across Illinois including Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Call us today at (847) 390-8500 for a free consultation. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.