Most people are surprised to learn that an “administrative court” system exists in Illinois that functions primarily independent of our traditional court system. These “administrative courts” are created by cities and villages. Fines can be up to $750.00 per offense, and a person can be jailed for up to 6 months if the municipal offense in a misdemeanor. Many of the traditional criminal cases such as theft, possession of a controlled substance, battery, assault, etc. are now being decided by appointed “hearing officers” under the label of “quasi-criminal criminal cases.” The “story” goes that these proceedings are civil, and thus, are not “real” criminal cases.
Although administrative rulings by appointed hearing officers/judges that deal with quasi-criminal cases can be appealed to Judicial Court, they rarely are because it is extremely difficult and expensive to have an administrative ruling overturned under current Illinois law.