The following rights are applicable to defendants in all traffic cases.
Right to know the charge
Every person receiving a traffic ticket is entitled to receive a copy of the charge in writing.
Right to know the penalty
Traffic violations range in seriousness from a parking violation carrying a maximum fine of $100.00 to a felony offense resulting in a prison sentence of more than 10 years.
The range of penalties for cases heard in traffic court are:
Petty Offense fine of $1 to $1,000
examples: speeding, disobeying a red light
Business Offense fine set by law creating each offense
example: driving without insurance
Class A jail up to 364 days or fine of $1 to $2,500 or both
examples: driving under the influence, driving on a suspended or revoked license or speeding 40 or more miles over the speed limit
Class B jail up to 6 months or fine of $1 to $1,500 or both
example: to advertise or distribute any information or material that promotes the selling, giving or furnishing of a fraudulent driver's license or permit or speeding 30 or more miles over the speed limit
Class C jail up to 30 days or fine of $1 to $1,500 or both
example: third conviction for a petty offense traffic violation within one year
Right to an attorney
Every person charged with a traffic violation has the right to be represented by an attorney of his or her own choice.
Right to a jury trial
Persons charged with a violation of an Illinois state law have a constitutional right to trial by jury. Ordinance violations punishable by fine only will be heard by a jury in cases where the defendant files a jury demand and pays a non-refundable $100.00 jury fee on or before the first court date.
Right of confrontation
Every person accused of a violation has the right to have witnesses brought to court to testify in his or her presence.
Right to remain silent
Every person has the right to say nothing and require the prosecutor to prove the charges.
Right to an appeal
Every person found guilty of a traffic violation has the right to an appeal to the appellate court.