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Should I hire an attorney for my traffic ticket in Illinois?

Posted by Jeffrey A. Fagan | May 02, 2024 | 0 Comments

This is one of the most asked questions we get.  There are a number of reasons hiring an attorney to assist you with your traffic ticket is a very good decision. 

Illinois Traffic Basics - Convictions, Not "points"

Let's start by discussing how the Illinois Secretary of State handles traffic violations.  Every Illinois driver over the age of 21 is allowed two convictions in a rolling 12 month period.  Upon the entry of a third conviction, the Secretary of State will suspend the driving privileges of an Illinois driver.   Additionally, insurance companies in Illinois raise the rates of their insured for every conviction.  Insurance companies have a five year “look back” period they use to calculate a driver's rates.  Our research indicates that a single conviction for a driving offense can result in a driver paying an increase in premiums amounting to right around one extra premium payment over that five year period.  We do not recommend pleading guilty and paying the fine on the ticket for these reasons.  Chances are good that you feel like you already pay too much for insurance.  Also, imagine how difficult your life would be should you face a suspension!

Court Supervision vs conviction

Illinois' Courts have another disposition they can enter called “supervision”.  Supervision is a finding of guilt without a conviction.  Essentially, a good way to understand this is that the Court suspends the prosecution against the driver pending the completion of certain things, namely the payment of a fine and court costs (now referred to as “penalties” and “mandatory assessments”) and an obligation that the driver doesn't receive any new traffic offenses within a certain time period (which can be a few months up to a year).  Insurance companies do not raise premiums for supervisions and they do not use a supervision disposition to make rate determinations and adjustments.  Just like with convictions, the Illinois Secretary of State places limitations on the number of supervisions a driver can have.  According to the law, driver's over the age of 21 may have two supervisions in a rolling 12 month period.  If a driver “uses” their two supervisions, a conviction must enter.

Supervision costs are often a bit higher than the cost of a conviction up front, but the money spent is far less than the insurance premium hikes that flow from a conviction.

The third way people can handle the ticket in many cases is to plead guilty and request traffic safety school.  When you do this, you start by admitting guilt.  If the State decides your record merits traffic safety school (which is, effectively, supervision with a fine plus the cost and time you must invest to complete the traffic safety school program), the result is generally better than a conviction, but you are giving up on the chance that your traffic lawyer might be able to get the case dismissed, amended or negotiate a better deal.  Further, if the Clerk determines you don't deserve traffic safety school, they will accept your plea of guilty and simply convict you.  Why does this happen?  It could be something as simple as having a prior supervision or conviction within the Court's guidelines.  Additionally, even if granted supervision in this way, you now have to dedicate at least four hours (sometimes more) to sitting through a class where you get the privilege of relearning the rules of the road, and pay for that privilege.  If you fail to complete traffic safety school in a timely matter, the Court simply converts the disposition to a conviction.  As you can see, this is not a great option for most people.

How Can an Illinois Traffic Attorney Help?

At Fagan Fagan and Davis, our experienced team of attorneys work hard to resolve traffic matters in the most advantageous way possible for our clients.  Our primary goal in every case is to see if we can obtain a dismissal.  Sometime, this is because the officer fails to appear in court and you have the credible threat of an attorney capable of bringing your case to trial standing with you. If dismissal isn't possible for this or other reasons, we explore any available defenses.  If there are no defenses that might compel a prosecutor to dismiss or amend the charge, there still may be a way to convince the Judge to find you "not guilty" after a trial.  If those defenses don't exist, the next best option is to negotiate an amendment to the charge to a non-moving violation, if possible (non-moving violations do not affect insurance premium determinations).  If an amendment to a non-moving violation is not possible, our attorneys work with the prosecutor to obtain supervision and the lowest possible fine.  We handle hundreds of traffic violations every year in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and Will County.

How Much Will This Cost Me?


If you are facing a traffic ticket in Illinois, reach out to Fagan Fagan & Davis as soon as possible.  Our team of dedicated and experienced attorneys are happy to review your tickets and speak to you about your options.  To set up a consultation, you can call or text us at 847-635-8200 or you can email us at [email protected].  Make sure you send us copies of your tickets as well (in PDF format please).  Most of the time, we can discuss the case with you in 5-10 minutes and, at the very least, can help you make an informed decision about how to handle your case.

Our fee to handle traffic tickets starts as low as $250, depending on a number of factors, including your specific needs, your driving background, and the seriousness of the charges you are facing.

Why face the system alone?  The State has a lawyer working for them and so should you!

About the Author

Jeffrey A. Fagan

Jeff earned his law degree from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago Illinois, and helps clients with residential real estate transactions as well as defense of traffic, DUI and criminal matters.


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Where do we appear in court?

We regularly appear for Illinois Criminal defense, DUI defense and Traffic violations throughout the Chicago area including Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane and Will county courts, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Bridgeview, Markham, Maywood, Waukegan, Wheaton, Naperville, Elgin, St. Charles and more.