Court Diversion Envelopes
You must choose one of the following three options:
- Option A: Plead guilty, pay the fine and receive a conviction
- Option B: Plead guilty, pay the fine, attend Traffic Safety School and avoid receiving a conviction
- Option C: Plead not guilty and request a court date
Please read Options A, B and C carefully before making your decision.
Option A: Plead Guilty and Do Not Appear in Court
Pay a $164 fine, unless the ticket is for:
- Speeding 21 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, then pay $164; or
- Failure to wear seat belt, then pay $164.
Selection of this option generally results in a conviction which is reported to the Illinois Secretary of State for entry on your public driving record. The following violations, however, will not result in either a report to the Illinois Secretary of State, or if reported, will not result in a chargeable violation (which counts toward a driver’s license suspension) being entered on your driving record:
- Obstruction of traffic
- Unattended vehicle
- No headlights, when required
- Operating a commercial vehicle on a boulevard or Lake Shore Drive
- Failure to display state registration plates or city sticker
- Violating a funeral procession
- Opening a vehicle door in traffic
- Failure to wear a seat belt
- Following a fire apparatus too closely
- Pay $147 unless ticket is for speeding 21-30 miles over the limit, then pay $167; if ticket is for failure to wear seatbelt, then pay $87.
- Fill out the Traffic Safety School registration and return it in the envelope with your ticket payment.
- Complete the four-hour Driver Safety Course within four months.
Warning: Not all persons are eligible to attend Traffic Safety School. In some instances, improper selection of option "B" will result in a conviction on a driver's record.
The Driver Safety Course is offered by the Traffic Safety School of the Center for Public Safety of Northwestern University. This program is available at locations throughout the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County. Classes are scheduled Monday through Saturday. Consult the registration material for times and locations of classes. The 4-hour program is also offered online. However, not all persons are eligible to attend Traffic Safety School. For further information, you can call Traffic Safety School at 847-467-6820.
Option C: Plead Not Guilty and Request a Date for Trial
If you wish to contest the charges, you must choose Option C on the envelope provided and mail it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court within seven days of receiving the ticket.
You are responsible for notifying the court of any address change. Please mark the "I HAVE MOVED" box and enter your correct address on the envelope before mailing. This should be done in all cases where the address written by the officer is not where you wish to receive your mail. Please mark this box and provide complete information if your apartment or unit number is missing or incorrect. Please note that the United States Postal Service will not deliver mail to a multi-unit building unless an apartment or unit number is included.
Your plea of not guilty will be accepted by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and a court date will be scheduled. The clerk will notify you of the court date by mail.
Your Responsibility of Your Case Progress
If you do not receive notification of your court date within 21 days from the date you mailed your request, please call the courthouse where your ticket is pending to learn the date. You are responsible for following the progress of your case. Failure to do so may result in a conviction being entered and reported to the Illinois Secretary of State. In some instances, your driving privileges will be suspended.
Many people who choose Option C come to court only to find they do not have a valid defense to the violation. At the beginning of each court call, the judge makes an opening statement about the operation of traffic court and explains what does not constitute a valid defense to violations. The list of unacceptable defenses includes the following:
- "The sun was in my eyes."
- "I was keeping up with the flow of traffic."
- "My speedometer was broken."
- "I did not see the sign." (Unacceptable unless the sign was not placed in accordance with state standards.)
- "I was unfamiliar with the neighborhood and was lost."
Please be aware that if one of these reasons applies to your situation it will not be accepted by the judge.