Many people spend a lot of their time in their cars and consequently find themselves racking up more than a few traffic tickets each year. If you are one of the people who find yourself accruing a speeding ticket here and a stoplight violation there, but promptly pay the tickets, you may believe you are safe from further legal consequences.
This might not necessarily be true. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, repeated traffic violations may lead to significant legal penalties. Repeated driving violations can raise insurance rates and result in heavy fines, mandatory classes or community service or even jail time.
Illinois Traffic Law
The Illinois Traffic Code ranks driving offenses using a point system. This means if you are convicted of a codified traffic violation, you get a designated number of points on your license. Each codified offense in the Illinois Vehicle Code is assigned a specific point value based on the severity of the traffic offense. For example, passing a school bus when its alert signals are on results in a 25-point penalty, passing another motor vehicle in a no passing zone is a 10-point fine, and reckless driving can be a 55-point fine. Once you accrue a certain number of points on your license, you may incur a penalty such as the suspension, revocation or cancellation of your driver’s license. The severity of the penalty may hinge on the amount of points on your driving record.
Moving Violations Under Illinois Law
In addition, if you accrue a certain number of moving violations within a designated time period you may also be in danger of losing your license. For example, if you are over 21 and convicted or plead guilty to two moving violations in one year, you may be assigned court supervision. If you are convicted of a third moving violation, your license may be automatically suspended. This mandatory rule applies only to moving violations. Equipment violations such as driving with a broken taillight or failing to wear a seatbelt are not the type of violations that give rise to automatic license suspension.
Traffic Law Treatment of Higher-Risk Drivers
Additionally, Illinois driving rules are stricter for drivers under 21 years of age and for drivers of commercial vehicles. For example, an Illinois driver under 21 may have his license suspended for only two moving violations over a 24-month period. Similarly, Illinois Vehicle Code lists a specific offense that prohibits talking on the cell phone while driving that applies only to individuals age 18 and younger. Concerning commercial vehicle drivers, Illinois driving law compels commercial drivers to submit to chemical testing. In addition. commercial drivers can lose their commercial driver’s licenses for seemingly moderate offenses such as erratic lane changing or trailing another vehicle too closely.
At Kathryn L. Harry and Associates. P.C., we believe that it is important to know your rights in traffic court as well as the consequences of pleading guilty to a seemingly innocuous traffic violation. We also believe it is important for drivers to know that there are alternatives available to pleading guilty and mailing in a fine. Contact an attorney at (630) 472- 9700 to see if these alternatives are appropriate for you and your individual situation. Sometimes contesting a first-time moving violation offense can be the best way to protect your future peace-of-mind.