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What happens if you don’t pay a traffic ticket?

If you ignore a traffic ticket will it go away?

Unfortunately not. Sooner or later, traffic tickets come home to roost – even if you live in another state or city from where you were ticketed.  The consequences of not paying a ticket can range from an additional fine, to suspension of your driver’s license, to a warrant for your arrest.

Most states, including Illinois, have reciprocity agreements concerning traffic violations.  Many states use the Problem Driver Point System (PDPS), which is a nation-wide database of driver’s information. This means that if you receive a traffic ticket in Illinois, but you live somewhere else, your home state can and likely will find out. 

Here are some of the things that could happen if you don’t pay a ticket:

  • The fine could go up.
  • You could accumulate convictions of record and additional points against your driving record, causing your insurance rates to go up.
  • If you were charged with a misdemeanor, the court could issue a warrant for your arrest. If you have a warrant and are stopped for an unrelated offense, the police officer could take you into custody.
  • Your driver’s license could be suspended or potentially revoked.

If you are ticketed for speeding or another violation in Illinois, your options are:

  • Pay the ticket and take the conviction and other consequences.
  • Hire a lawyer to negotiate with the traffic court on your behalf.  Perhaps get it dismissed or plead to Court Supervision – which is a non-conviction under Illinois law.
  • Fight the ticket yourself.  Unfortunately, this may result in missed time from work, and most traffic courts will not offer plea arrangements to people who represent themselves.

It’s important to know that some traffic offenses, such as reckless driving and some speeding violations, are criminal offenses.  If you are convicted of criminal traffic offense, it could 

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