Very few of us have never received a traffic ticket. Given enough time, much like car accidents, nearly everyone will receive some kind of traffic citation. Of course, these citations can range in consequences from simply annoying to potentially, life changing. This is why it is so important for everyone to know their basic traffic ticket rights.
Jailable traffic violations
If one of the potential consequences of a conviction for the Illinois traffic violation is jail, then the cited person has the right to an attorney. Of course, one can hire their own attorney, but even if one cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one. Though, to get such an appointment requires proof of financial hardship through W-2s, pay stubs, disability proof, Social Security or other public assistance, etc. At a minimum, courts require a financial affidavit that outlines all resources and debts.
Fine-only traffic tickets
For those traffic tickets that only carry a monetary fine, the accused still has the right to hire an Illinois attorney. However, the court will not appoint one, if the accused cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Another right is the right of confrontation. This means that anytime someone receives an Illinois traffic ticket, the person who received the ticket has the right to confront and cross-examine the police officer that issued the traffic ticket. This is in addition to any other witness called by the Springfield, Illinois, prosecutor. The ticketing officer will receive notice to appear in court, and their failure to appear can cause a dismissal.
Prosecute one’s case
The accused can also bring their own witnesses, including subpoenaing witnesses that refuse to come before the court voluntarily. This is in addition to presenting their own evidence to the court, like testimony, photographs, videos, etc. The accused also has the right to see all paperwork the officer plans to present prior to it being given to the judge.
Just like with any other crime, everyone has the right to remain silent. No one can be forced to testify or make a statement against their interest.
Everyone has the right to appeal a negative outcome, if one believes there was some error. The appeal is done through the Illinois Appellate Court, but the notice to appeal must be filed within 30 days after the court determination.