What if I Missed My Illinois Traffic Court Date?
With busy lifestyles, minor details become lost in the shuffle. We forget where we put our car keys, we forget to respond to that last text message for a few days, and we miss appointments. But what happens if one of those appointments we accidentally forgot to show up for was traffic court? Find out how Illinois courts respond.
Can I Still Drive?
On the back of an initial citation, there are instructions on how to respond. You do not need to go to court for minor petty traffic offenses. There is an option to pay for the ticket. However, this is not always the wisest solution. By paying, you plead guilty to the charges, and you risk the possibility of points being added to your license. If you do opt to go to court, you do so instead of paying the fine. If you miss your court date, however, the county circuit courts will forward the information that you failed to appear to the Secretary of State, who, in turn, will automatically suspended your license.
Will I Go to Jail?
If the missed appearance is your first, there is not always a warrant for your arrest. The judge has two options, these are:
- Assign another date for the court appearance and a notification is sent by mail; or,
- Issue an ex parte judgment in your absence.
Ex Parte Explanation
Ex Parte judgments are decrees made in the absence of the defendant, typically assuming guilt. If the ticket for which your original traffic court date was for a traffic misdemeanor, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. However, defendants can "undo" the verdict. A lawyer can file a motion to “vacate” the judgment. General guidelines include:
- Poor driving records complicate a motion to vacate; and
- It is best to file within 30 days of the original missed court date.
Get an Attorney
Even for minor violations, an experienced Wheaton, IL traffic attorney can help. Not only do attorneys have the benefit of using the shorter “attorney’s services” line saving you a significant amount of time, but your case will also be heard promptly and delivered by someone knowledgeable with the intricacies of traffic law and the ability to make your missed court date appear less offensive. Davi Law Group, LLC has the knowledge and experience to help guide you through your traffic violation charges and earn you the best possible outcome. Call us today at 630-580-6373 to review your case today.