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Do I Have to Appear in Court For a Traffic Ticket?

Updated on September 4, 2022 → Under

How to Know if You Have to Appear in Court

If someone is given a traffic ticket in the state of Illinois, there are a few key things they are able to find on their citation that will be indicative of whether or not they have to make an appearance in traffic court. When looking over a traffic citation, one may see a demarcation that states "must appear", or "court appearance required". Most tickets will have a designated checkbox for these demarcations.

The officer will note whether the individual does or does not have to make an appearance in court for their traffic violation, and will provide them with a date and time. It is important to note that the driver will receive a reminder notice as their court date approaches, and this reminder notice should not be ignored.

Traffic infractions that result in a ticket and require a mandatory court appearance are typically issued for drivers who pose a threat to themselves or other drivers and can carry a variety of penalties for the driver. Some of these penalties include automatic license suspension, revocation of driving privileges, jail time, community service, and more. All of these consequences are placed on the driver's driving record.

What if You Are From Out of Town or State?

If someone receives a traffic violation in their home state, it's very simple to take a day off of work or school and go to their local traffic court to contest the ticket. However, if someone receives a driving ticket while they are in a different jurisdiction, they will have to return to the county where they received the ticket in order to contest the charge. Unfortunately, this process is typically much more expensive than paying the ticket or setting up a payment plan.

If someone chooses to contest the ticket, they will need to hire an attorney for traffic court from the state in which the ticket was issued. Contact information for the district court in which the arraignment hearing will be made available on the reminder notice. The driver should seek legal counsel about what steps need to be taken if the district court is outside of their living area.

traffic on a freeway, Appear in Court For a Traffic Ticket

What to Do if You Can't Be There on The Date

If someone is ticketed after committing traffic offenses and is summoned to court, that individual is legally obligated to make an appearance. In the event that the defendant is unable to make their court date, they should make a call to their legal counsel in order to make the attempt to reschedule their hearing. The reason for needing to reschedule should be taken into consideration before attempting to change the hearing date.

There must be a legitimate reason for not attending their hearing, such as an already scheduled surgery, or other medical emergencies. Regardless of the reasoning, legal advice should always be consulted. In some instances, legal counsel may be able to stand in place of the defendant. In order to decide if this would be the correct decision, one should always discuss this with their representation.

Related Content: Overview of Driver's License Points in Illinois

Consequences of Not Appearing at The Court Date

If someone who has been issued a ticket has not paid the outstanding traffic fines or has missed their court date without attempting to reschedule, the court will issue a Failure to Appear notice. Once this notice is issued, the driver will have to contact the court directly in order to deal with the notice. This reminder notice is incredibly beneficial to the driver and should be taken seriously.

Missing the court date in regards to a traffic ticket, and ignoring the Failure to Appear notice, will next result in license suspension. Continuing to drive after the license suspension process may lead to a longer suspension duration or could incur jail time, and will automatically result in a guilty plea.

Disregarding a court date will incur more fines, as well. The amount in which the fines increase will depend on which jurisdiction the ticket was issued, but missing the due date or court date could add more than double the price to the original ticket price. These fines will continue to pile up until they are paid or a court appearance is made.

Failure to appear at a mandatory court hearing could result in a new criminal offense. Failure to appear is often a misdemeanor criminal offense and could cause a warrant for arrest and incarceration.

When the defendant has failed to appear for their court hearing and has not paid their outstanding traffic fines, they have forfeited the right to payment options or a payment plan issued by the court system. In addition to fines increasing by the day, vehicular insurance rates and insurance premiums will skyrocket due to unpaid fines. There is also a risk of the driver's insurance company canceling their plan, resulting in the driver being unable to provide proof of insurance.

Conclusion

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been issued a  traffic citation by a police officer, it is imperative to seek legal assistance. Dohman Law Group can help you navigate your Illinois traffic ticket and find the best solution for your situation. There are many options for dealing with traffic tickets, as traffic laws are enforced in order to keep you and other drivers safe. The law professionals with Dohman Law Group can help you navigate your charges.

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