Traffic Offenses

Pleading Guilty: Online, Mail, In-person

If your ticket is a minor traffic offense and is not a THIRD offense within 12 months (SECOND offense within 24 months, if you are under 21) or one of the offenses listed below, and your ticket is marked “NO COURT APPEARANCE REQUIRED”, it may be beneficial for you to plea guilty and pay the ticket. This avoids court costs, which can be substantial, and are required if you appear in Court. Information on pleading guilty online or by mail can be found at here

If the citation is for:

  • Reckless driving
  • Misdemeanor speeding
  • Driving while suspended/revoked (DUS/DUR)
  • Fleeing and eluding
  • Drag racing
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Unlawful use of a driver’s license or permit
  • Illegal transportation of alcohol
  • Improperly approaching a stationary emergency vehicle (Scott’s Law)
  • Any offense involving personal injury or property damage

admitting guilt and paying the fine is likely not your best course of action and you should meet with an attorney

Your Rights Upon a Guilty Plea

If you appear in court to plead guilty and the offense does not carry a possible jail sentence, a hearing will be held immediately to determine your fine. Before the judge decides upon the fine to be assessed, you will be given an opportunity to explain anything you may want considered.

Supervision-Traffic School

Court supervision requires a plea of guilty but has certain potential benefits.
If you receive supervision and you do not get another ticket within the supervision period, points will not be assessed on your driving record. The Secretary of State records court supervision on your record.
Generally, in order to receive court supervision for a petty offense ticket it will be necessary for you to attend traffic school at Parkland College.
Eligibility for traffic school requires the following:

  1. No Illinois moving violation convictions within 12 months.
  2. Have NOT completed traffic school or been on supervision in Illinois in the past 4 years.
  3. Ticket marked “No Court Appearance Required”
  4. Ticket is NOT for speeding 21+ mph over the limit

You will receive the traffic school application in the mail or may pick one up at the traffic clerk’s office. You are still required to pay all fines stated on the ticket as well as the fee for traffic school.

Your Right to a Jury or Bench Trial

If you plead NOT guilty, you have the right to a bench trial or a jury trial. At either trial the State must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A bench trial is conducted by a judge only who decides the facts of the case. At a jury trial, 12 residents of Champaign County are chosen to decide the facts of the case. You should consult with an attorney before deciding to go to trial and in choosing either type of a trial.

Your Trial Rights

Regardless of the type of trial you choose, you have the following rights:

  • Proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Cross-examination of witnesses testifying against you
  • Presentation of witnesses and evidence on your own behalf
  • Right to testify on your own behalf
  • Right against self-incrimination, the right to not testify against yourself
  • If you are convicted and sentenced, you have the right to appeal both determinations.

Pleading to a Lesser Offense

The prosecutor sometimes will be willing to reduce a moving violation ticket to a non-moving petty offense. Non-moving petty offenses do not become a part of your driving record, unlike moving violations. This is sometimes referred to as “pleading to a 12-101” named after the section in the vehicle code. This type of plea is usually negotiated where proof of the original offense is weak, the offender would otherwise suffer a loss of driving privileges, or where the offender presents unique circumstances. A fine will still be required where the charges are reduced. It is likely that the fine will be increased in return for the benefit of keeping the ticket off your record.