What happens in traffic court?

Traffic tickets come in a variety of severities. From speeding tickets to DUIs, you can appear in court for any citation, explains the Illinois Bar Association.

Court appearances are not always necessary but in some cases, you do have to attend a trial.

What does the traffic ticket say about court appearances?

Your ticket will inform you as to whether you must show up in court. If you do not have to show up in court, then you have a few options.

  • You can plead guilty, stay out of court and pay the fine
  • You can request an order of supervision after a guilty plea
  • You can request a trial through pleading not guilty

An order of supervision does not put the conviction on your record. Instead, you would pay the fine and attend a traffic school.

If you request a trial or if your ticket informs you that you have to go to trial, then you need to show up to the courthouse on the proper day, at the proper time and dressed respectfully.

What happens at court?

Your first court appearance is simple. This is usually a hearing where you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. Sometimes, you may have your trial on the same day. If you want to enter a plea bargain, then your attorney may speak to the prosecutor.

In most traffic court cases, a judge settles them. This is called a bench trial. The judge hears the case, then hands out the verdict. If you request a trial by jury, the judge has to allow it. It does not matter how mild or severe the offense is.