What is Court Supervision?

Court supervision is a deferral of a judgment of conviction from entering on your record for a specific period of time with specific conditions. If, at the end of the time period, all conditions have been met, then conviction never enters and the charges are dismissed.

Case Disposition

The manner in which the case is disposed of is called the disposition. In Illinois, somebody charged with a criminal offense, traffic violation, or ordinance violation may receive a disposition unless the charges are dismissed outright. There are 2 main dispositions: Conviction or Court Supervision.


There are several types of convictions:

  • Straight Conviction
  • Conditional Discharge
  • Probation
  • Jail or Prison

Court Supervision

Some counties utilize Supervised Supervision. This is equivalent to a deferral of the conviction but blends in probation-like requirements, like meeting with a probation officer and random drug testing.

Most counties in Illinois only use standard court supervision. They defer entering a conviction for a given time period, and as long as all conditions are met, the charges are dismissed at the end.

Court Supervision Statute

Here is a link to the full text of the Illinois statute, 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1.

Traffic case vs. Criminal case

Traffic Cases

Under 21 years old: Eligible for court supervision twice in a 12 month period.

Over 21 years old: Eligible for court supervision twice in a 12 month period.

Criminal Cases

Generally, you can only receive court supervision one time for an offense. The principle behind granting court supervision to somebody is that they are unlikely to commit further offenses of the law. Prosecutors and judges are much less likely to agree with a sentence of court supervision on subsequent offenses if you’ve been placed on court supervision in the past for the same offense.

What Does Court Supervision Mean in Illinois?

Most ordinance violations, petty traffic tickets, and misdemeanors are eligible to receive court supervision. However, Illinois statute forbids a sentence of court supervision for many offenses. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to best handle these offenses. You can find a list of them here.

You cannot be placed on court supervision for any felony charge.

Court supervision begins when the judge pronounces the sentence. In other words after a negotiation among the parties that results in an agreement for court supervision, or after being found guilty after trial and the judge pronounces the sentence.

Terms of Court Supervision

The terms of supervision can include many things, including fines, traffic school, community service, and requirements to abstain from alcohol or drugs. The terms of court supervision can be negotiable in some situations and required by statute in others. An experienced traffic attorney may be necessary to ensure that you receive court supervision and keep tickets off of your driving record.

FAQ: Do I need a lawyer for my traffic ticket?

Traffic Safety School

Generally, if you mail in or pay a traffic ticket online and request supervision, you will be required to complete a 4 hour traffic safety school and commit no further violations of the law. If you are under 21, you will also be required to attend traffic school in order to receive court supervision.

Public Service Work

In order to be place on supervision for some offenses, like Disorderly Conduct or some Driving on Suspended charges, the judge is required to sentence you to a minimum number of community service, aka Public Service Work. In many instances, public service work is an alternative to a jail sentence and a conviction of the offense. But in other instances, like a DUI conviction, you have the option of going to jail for 5 days or completing 240 hours of public service work.

Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse Treatment

Alcohol related offenses, like DUI, can require the completion of an alcohol evaluation and any recommendations as a part of court supervision. When substance abuse issues cause the police to make an arrest for crimes like retail theft, battery, or trespassing, prosecutors may require a substance abuse evaluation as a term of court supervision.

Evaluations are usually at the Defendant’s expense as well as any recommended classes.

Anger Management or Partner Abuse Classes

Some offenses caused by potential anger issues may result in the prosecutor requiring an Anger Management or Partner Abuse Evaluation as a term of court supervision. If the evaluator makes any recommendations, those need to be followed as well to be in compliance with your court supervision.

Evaluations are usually at the Defendant’s expense as well as any recommended classes.

Check out the Finishing Your Sentence page for additional resources.

Revoking Supervision

If you are in full compliance with the terms of your court supervision at the end of the term, you will be discharged from supervision satisfactorily, and the charge will be dismissed without a conviction going on your record.

If you are not in full compliance at the end of the term of court supervision, you should appear in court on your release date.

Petty Offenses

If you are not in full compliance and to appear in court on the release date, your supervision may be revoked and a conviction may enter against you.
Example: If you originally had supervision for a speeding ticket but failed to complete the traffic school, the Court could revoke supervision and enter a conviction for your speeding ticket. The Court would then report this new disposition to the Secretary of State and could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license.


For misdemeanors, if you do not appear in court on the release date, the State may request to file a Petition to Revoke, a warrant or summons may issue, and you will be brought back into court for a revocation hearing and re-sentencing. You can be re-sentenced to the maximum available sentence for the charge you were sentenced for initially.
Example: If you were placed on court supervision for a class A misdemeanor and fail to complete your sentence, you could be re-sentenced up to 364 days in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. A conviction for the offense could also be placed on your record. For a charge like DUI, this would result in a revocation of your driver’s license.

Can you do anything if your supervision is revoked?

It depends on several factors, including the offense, how much time has passed since the revocation, who prosecutes the offense that is now a conviction, past history, and age to name a few. You should consult with an attorney to discuss a Motion to Vacate.

Motion to Vacate

For petty offenses, you can file a motion to vacate to ask the Court to undo the revocation of supervision. Time restrictions apply, and most judges will not allow cases more than 2 years old to be brought back into Court. If your record is holding you back, you should consult with an experienced traffic attorney to look into cleaning up past convictions with motions to vacate.

Misdemeanors are much more difficult. A myriad of factors make it difficult to vacate misdemeanor convictions that occurred more than 30 days ago. Generally, you need some cooperation from the State in order to vacate misdemeanors, which could be hard to come by.