An Appellate court, in People v. Geiler, upheld the dismissal of a traffic ticket issued by the City of Troy’s Police Department because the Department routinely failed to file their tickets with the circuit court within 48 hours. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 552, applicable to municipalities, requires in part:

The arresting officer shall complete the form or ticket and, within 48 hours after the arrest, shall transmit the portions entitled “Complaint” and “Disposition Report” and, where appropriate, “Report of Conviction,” either in person or by mail, to the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the violation occurred.

Prior court decisions have labeled Rule 552’s 48 hour filing deadline to be “directory,” meaning that an isolated incident of filing a citation later than 48 hours does not create grounds to dismiss a municipal ticket.

However, the Geiler court articulated further that where a municipality has “a pattern of clear and consistent violation” of the 48 hour rule, that dismissal is warranted. The City of Troy routinely filed traffic tickets with the court twice a week, Monday and Friday. Tickets from the weekend were filed on Monday, and tickets from the regular week were filed on Friday which meant that tickets issued on Monday and Tuesday were routinely filed more than 48 hours from the time of arrest.

Municipal police and code enforcement departments are advised to file citations with the appropriate county courthouse at least three times a week, spaced no greater than two days apart. Weekends and court holidays are seemingly not counted in Rule 552 (because otherwise it would be impossible at times to meet the 48 hour rule).

Brad Stewart

Author: Brad Stewart