There are an incredible number of rules you are required to follow while driving, making it all but impossible to not break one every now and then. In fact, lots of people would be surprised at just how often they commit common traffic violations. While you may be able to get away with breaking some rules more often than not if you are caught it is likely that you will receive a traffic citation. Many people have received a citation or small fine for a traffic violation before, but the penalties for breaking the rules of the road can vary depending on the seriousness of the offense, and you may even be required to attend a hearing in traffic court.
If you have received a traffic ticket that requires you to attend a traffic court hearing in Illinois, you will want the services of a qualified traffic attorney. At DUI Lawyers 24/7 we have the experience and expertise you need to uphold your legal rights, defend your driving privileges, and avoid or minimize possible punishments such as fines or jail time. There are real stakes in traffic court, and you will want to get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to see what we can do to help you!
Receiving a Traffic Ticket
When you are stopped by a police officer for breaking a traffic law, the ticket you are issued must include the nature of the charge; the date, time, and location of the alleged violation; and the statute or ordinance you are accused of violating. You will be required to sign the ticket, by which you agree to appear for your day in traffic court or follow the terms of the ticket if a court appearance is not required.
Failing to sign the ticket can result in an additional penalty to you, so you will want to sign. Keep in mind that your signature is not an admission of guilt, just a sign that you acknowledge your court date or the fine being issued to you. A police officer has the authority to arrest you for even a petty traffic offense, but they usually will not except in cases of more serious violations such as DUIs.
Learn More: How Can a Traffic Lawyer Help Me?
Procedure for Traffic Court
If you are required to attend traffic court, the officer issuing your ticket will inform you and will check a box on your ticket that states the same. The following is the procedure you should expect if you find yourself going to traffic court:
Determining your plea
When you are issued a ticket you are required to sign it, acknowledging that you have received it. This does not indicate in any way whether or not you agree with the citation. If you are not required to attend traffic court, and would not have entered a guilty plea, you can request a traffic court hearing in order to argue against the citation.
Before your hearing
While certain traffic violations are considered criminal acts, traffic court is a separate entity from criminal court. That being said, when attending either one, you should still be aware that you will be in court and plan accordingly. Dress in proper courtroom attire, as first impressions can be powerful. This means no shorts, sandals or t-shirts. Be in the courtroom at your given appearance time, early is better.
Beginning of the trial
Your first appearance in traffic court is often just an opportunity to enter your official plea with the judge. A date and time for your actual trial will then be set, and while it usually takes place at another time, it may take place on the same day you submitted your plea.
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During the trial
The majority of traffic trials are bench trials, meaning there will be no jury and the decision rests with the traffic court judge. Prosecutors in traffic court still bear the burden of proof, just as in criminal cases, but for local ordinance violations, they only need to show that you are guilty by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Violations of state level ordinances require the same level of proof as a criminal trial.
Maintain an appropriate courtroom demeanor during your trial, including staying off your cell phone!
Sentencing for your traffic violation
Penalties for traffic violations vary depending on the seriousness of the offense. Minor traffic infractions will only have a fine as a punishment, while more severe offenses can be charged as criminal misdemeanors or even felonies in certain circumstances.
Work with a Qualified Illinois Traffic Lawyer
If you have been issued a traffic ticket and are required to appear in court, you will need the services of an experienced Illinois traffic citation attorney. A Kane County traffic lawyer with experience handling cases from minor traffic offenses to more severe violations can help guide you through the hearing process, alert you to possible pitfalls, and work with you to avoid a conviction and keep the incident off your driving record.
At DUI Lawyers 24/7 we can help you with any citation you may be facing in Kane County, Lake County, or McHenry County. Call us today at 847-999-7616 or set up an appointment online to schedule a free case consultation!