Illinois traffic tickets have two boxes that a police officer must mark. One box requires you to go to court, while the other does not. In the event you are not required to go to court, you have a decision to make. You may decide to go ahead and plead guilty to the traffic offense, or you may choose to ask for a trial where you can contest the ticket.
The Illinois State Bar Association explains your options if your ticket does not necessitate a court appearance. You may decide to plead guilty and pay the required fine. While you may be spared any further hassle arising from the ticket, you will have a conviction noted on your record. Alternatively, you can plead guilty but ask for an order for supervision. This option can forego a conviction if you attend a traffic safety class in addition to paying whatever fine is required.
Still, you may feel strongly that you are not guilty of the offense you have been ticketed for. If so, you do not have to plead guilty. You may instead enter a plea of not guilty and ask for a trial. In the event notifying a court is required, your ticket should have information about the court you should contact about your decision to plead not guilty. While many traffic cases are only conducted in front of a judge, you may ask for a jury trial if you so wish.
Remember that you can also have an attorney represent you in a traffic proceeding and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. You may also bring your own witnesses, though the prosecution may present its own witnesses, including the officer who ticketed you. While there is no guarantee you would be found not guilty, a trial offers you the opportunity to fight a traffic charge and keep a conviction off your driving record.
Traffic offenses vary from person to person, so do not read the preceding information as legal counsel; it is only intended for educational benefit.