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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

New Illinois Law Bans Police Departments From Setting Ticket Quotas

Posted on in Traffic Violations

In June 2014, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a measure into law that prevents police departments at local, county and state levels from requiring officers to meet ticket quotas as a condition of maintaining their current jobs or as a factor for assigning promotions. Officers are no longer required to issue a certain number of driving citations over each period for designated minor traffic offenses. According to a press release from the governor's office, the Illinois ticket quota ban goes into effect January 1, 2015.

Purpose of the Illinois Ticket Quota Ban

The objective of this new initiative is to promote officer efficiency where it matters and to increase morale towards police officers in Illinois communities. Some proponents of the new law contend that residents from communities whose police departments require their officers to meet ticket quotas are more likely to distrust their police officers and see them as antagonistic force. Further mandating ticket quotas may enhance un-egalitarian enforcement of the law. When an officer feels pressured to make certain ticket numbers and she is nearing a deadline, the officer may be more likely to ticket motorists for minor offenses unlikely to cause danger or harm that are normally overlooked. At their worst, ticket quotas could even coerce desperate officers to ticket vulnerable individuals who appear to have fewer resources available to them to be able to contest a suspect driving ticket. On this view, banning ticket quotas will reduce friction between police officers and the communities they serve.

Additionally, dissatisfied residents may also view police departments in a negative light for disproportionately focusing on legal issues that are comparatively less significant. Residents and some policy makers feel that police officer time and attention would be better spent investigating the types of criminal activities that are more directly harmful towards Illinois residents, such as violent crimeslarceny, or white collar crimes such as embezzlement, in which community members may be robbed from within by their own employees. Banning ticket quotas could free up officer time to focus on issues more closely tied to resident safety. A statement released by Governor Quinn's office provided that "this law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when encountering a police vehicle."

Possible Effects of the Ticket Quota Ban for Illinois Residents

Importantly, the Illinois ticket quota ban only prevents police departments from mandating quotas on issuing traffic citations. Officers can still be evaluated on the number of other police-related activities they perform, such as the number of traffic stops conducted monthly, number of warnings issued or the number of other types of arrests made for minor or petty offenses.

Thus, police officers may have more incentive to turn attention away from minor traffic offenses and turn more attention toward more serious crimes. Police officers may become more active overall in the amount of contact they make with Illinois residents for suspicious-looking behavior. Also, officers may have more time to focus on following proper procedures during an arrest, making criminal charges more difficult to defend later in court.

Illinois Sign and Drive Law

Additionally this year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation ending the practice of posting a driver's license as security after certain traffic citations. This means that drivers can now sign a citation as their guarantee that they will appear in court or pay a fine. This change takes effect immediately and will help Illinois drivers keep one of their vital identification cards. However, any Illinois motorist who does not comply with the citation may still risk their driving privileges being suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office.

Seeking Legal Help for your Illinois Traffic Offense

At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. we provide criminal defense services for Illinois residents charged with a variety of driving offenses ranging from minor offenses such as driving with a suspended license to more serious offenses such as charges for reckless driving or for driving under influence that results in bodily injury. We carefully investigate the facts of each case and discuss priorities carefully with our clients. In some cases, particularly for first time offenders, we can collect favorable information about our clients and use the information to argue for more lenient sentences to criminal law judges and prosecutors. In the past, we have been able to negotiate with Oak Brook and surrounding area prosecutors to have charges reduced for our clients& mistakes.

We have also fought hard to have key pieces of evidence – such as contraband or the results of a field sobriety test - excluded from being presented during trial if the evidence is obtained in an improper or unlawful way. Alternatively, we advocate for clients to have fines reduced or put on a payment plan so that our clients can avoid possible jail time due to inability to pay. We work on our cases with an eye on long-term consequences for our clients and focus on issues about our clients& criminal charges to see if we can work towards having potential convictions expunged from client records in the future.

A ticket for traffic violation in Illinois can result in a variety of penalties including fines, license suspensions, mandated driving school attendance or jail time. Without adequate legal defense, penalties for driving mistakes can follow some of these individuals indefinitely and prevent them from obtaining employment, professional licensing or preservation of a driver's license. For more information on how the Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. can help you in your driving citation defense or a separate, criminal defense-related matter, contact our Oak Brook office today at 630-472-9700 or fill out our online contact form. We service residents of Cook and DuPage County in need of skilled criminal defense and residents of other surrounding areas throughout northern Illinois.

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