Dismiss a ticket because it hasn't appeared in the system
November 4, 2014 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I am a resident of Illinois. I received a routine speeding ticket in Illinois in early October. I am not eligible for supervision, so I am taking the pre-trial conference route to get supervision or amend. However, my court date is rapidly approaching and the ticket has not yet appeared in the court search and the county clerk's office doesn't know anything about it. I'm wondering whether the officer or the court system has failed to process this in a manner I can exploit to get the ticket dismissed, and how I might go about doing that.

I have an attorney doing the pre-trial negotiation for me for a small fee. I am intending to ask him about this, but it's outside the agreed scope and pay so I'd really like to get Metafilter's opinion first since I'm poor (I really regret getting this ticket.) I understand that you all are not my lawyers and many of you are not anyone's lawyer. My hope is that someone has experience with this.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
IANAL, but I recommend mentioning it at your trial. Procedural fuck-ups on the government's part should work out in the citizen's favor.
posted by starbreaker at 4:13 PM on November 4, 2014

I am not an Illinois traffic lawyer, so this is just based on the information in your question.

Since the county clerk's office doesn't know anything about your ticket, then it's not clear how you can have a court date.

Anyway, this sounds like it's just part of the pretrial procedure (reading the ticket details and looking for errors) and I wouldn't think your attorney would consider it to be outside of what he was hired to do.

Good luck with this.
posted by JimN2TAW at 4:36 PM on November 4, 2014

This happened to me in L.A. just a few years ago, and I was appalled to discover, after a trip to the county clerk's office, that the whole thing hinges on when the officer fills up his/her manual book of tickets and turns it in. Then all the tickets get registered. Totally inefficient, but The Way It's Done, and not grounds for anything being dismissed.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:36 PM on November 4, 2014

Are you sure you are checking with the court that has the jurisdiction over it and issued it? Are you checking with the county when your ticket was actually issued by city/town police?

What you maybe could do is go and ask them to look it up and when they tell you they have no record of a ticket on file, ask if they can print the search result out as proof in case the ticket gets "found" and re-appears. Just say you want it for your records that you don't have a court date or outstanding ticket. It's also possible the clerk you happened to speak to that day is incompetent, so if you can check again with a different clerk, that may be worth it, too.

Something like this should work in your favor. One time I got a speeding ticket but the "arresting officer" didn't show up to testify against me, so I was able to get it dismissed. I don't know how that happened, to be honest, because a lawyer friend of the family handled it for me and I assume state troopers never show up to testify for speeding tickets. But if they don't even have the ticket, I'd think you should be able to get out of it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:23 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you have a court date, then the ticket is in the system. Are you looking on the correct county court website? For instance, my daughter's county court website didn't have traffic ticket lookup, but when I called the clerk's number, the spiel at the beginning said, "...for traffic ticket lookup, please go to something like "countycourttraffictickets.com" (this wasn't the name and could be different by court) - it wasn't the regular court website. Sure enough, there it was.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 11:26 PM on November 4, 2014

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