Motion to Vacate Ex Parte Judgment in Illinois


If a defendant in Illinois ignores a court date for a traffic violation and fails to appear, the Illinois court will issue an ex parte judgment, which is a conviction without the presence of the defendant. The conviction will carry a fine, and notice of the conviction will be sent to the Illinois Secretary of State. In order to vacate this conviction, a defendant will have to file a motion to vacate ex parte judgment.

Ex Parte Orders Generally

  • The court enters an ex parte judgment when the defendant fails to appear, which results in a conviction on the charge, even if supervision was available. In Illinois, the secretary of state handles driver's license renewals and suspensions, either through internal mechanisms or by order of a circuit court. If unpaid ex parte convictions start to pile up, the secretary of state has discretion to suspend your driver's license. In order to clear these tickets, a driver will need to vacate the ex parte orders in court, then pay the fees to the circuit clerk's office for those vacated or pay directly to the secretary of state for older tickets.


  • To file a motion to vacate ex parte judgment, you can either visit your county courthouse and obtain a blank form from the clerk of court's office or obtain a copy online from the county court website. Input the caption information from your ticket onto the motion, and then write out a short paragraph as to why you missed the court date.

Filing Fees

  • Filing fees vary from county to county in Illinois, but under 750 ILCS 105/27.2a(W) they will range between $40 and $80 for a motion to vacate and may also include an additional $40 to $80 fee for notice of the vacate to the secretary of state. You can either mail or hand-deliver a copy of the motion to the state attorney's office to provide the office with notice of the motion.


  • The Illinois court will review your petition. The court also has the discretion to grant or deny your motion; there is no requirement that a motion to vacate ex parte must be accepted. If you are seeking to clear up your old tickers in order to reinstate your driver's license, bring evidence of your efforts, as the court is more likely to grant a request when a driver is making a diligent effort to correct past mistakes. It is advisable to retain an attorney to help clear up your record if you have multiple ex parte judgments.


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