Since sometime in March, counties in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, DeKalb, Will and other courts in Northern Illinois have closed their courthouses due to the Covid 19 outbreak. Most of these counties have extended their closure dates from mid-April and then once more to Mid-May. Whether the closures will again be extended through June or longer remains to be seen. Some of these counties have been very prompt and precise in providing correct information to defendants about their continued court dates so that defendants can take proper steps to ensure that they won’t miss the next set date. However, it has been more difficult to find correct information and communicate with certain other counties.
In part 1 of our blog posted yesterday, we explained some of the reasons why it’s so important to find your new court date if it’s been continued due to Coronavirus court closures. In today’s blog, Part 2, we’ll finish explaining some of the important reason why you need to find your new date, and then in Part 3, which we’ll post tomorrow, we’ll give you contact information for many of the county courts. Here are two more reasons why it’s important to locate your continued court date:
You May Lose Your Driver’s License
Illinois operates under a modified “point system” for driving privileges. That means that generally, an adult will get their license suspended or revoked once they receive convictions for three moving violations over a twelve month period. Those under 21 will often suffer such consequences if they receive just two convictions over a twenty-four month time frame. But sometimes, it’s not even necessary to get a lot of convictions to lose you your license. That’s because there are many types of tickets in Illinois that can result in a suspension or revocation for just one single conviction. In other circumstances, the failure to appear in court can create a suspension even though the ticket is not very serious at all. Most people have no idea however, which types of tickets and what combination of tickets will result in a suspension or revocation. That’s why it’s always a good idea to never miss a court date for a traffic related matter, because even if your driver’s license doesn’t get taken away, a conviction will generally be visible to insurance companies and could result in increased policy rates.
You May Lose Your Bail Bond
Whether you’ve received a traffic ticket for a moving violation or been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony matter, most of time you’re agreeing to the terms of being bonded out whether you realize it or not. Once you’ve been charged with a ticket or a crime, the police want some assurance that you’ll show up later in court as promised. The way this is done is by posting bail or bond. Sometimes, it’s very obvious that you’re posting bail because the police take you into custody and bring you before a Judge who listens to the basic facts and your background, then sets a specific bail amount. If you pay the bail amount, then you’re released from jail. If you don’t, then you stay in jail.
Other times, it’s not as clear that you’ve bonded out because no money has exchanged hands. This is generally called a personal recognizance bond or an “I Bond”. But just because you didn’t have to pay any actual money to guarantee your attendance at court doesn’t mean that you’re not on bond. Such a bond still has a money value and if you fail to appear in court, the Judge can make you pay that amount.
So, what happens if you miss a court date after you’ve paid a cash bond? The answer is that you lose it. Although it’s always possible that the Judge may “reinstate” your bond later and undo your loss, he may not as well. When this happens, the loss of your bond money usually is also accompanied by a warrant. Maybe the cash bond was only $100. But depending on the type of case and your criminal or traffic background, the cash that you posted may have been $1000 or even $100,000. Losing that would be very serious. Many times, the cash bail wasn’t even posted by you, but was posted by a friend or a relative. Sometimes, in the most serious of cases, a bond might even be the deed to someone’s real estate or home. But whatever the value, it’s never good to forfeit your bail bond.
Speak to our Experienced Legal Team
Since 1990, the knowledgeable attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have been helping clients charged with criminal and traffic offenses, from the most minor moving violations to the most serious of felonies and misdemeanors. You can contact our phone lines 24/7 even during the Covid 19 outbreak and be put in touch with an experienced attorney. Call us today (800) 996-4824.