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IL traffic lawyerIf you grew up in the United States, you can probably remember the excitement of your teenage years when you finally turned 16 and were able to get your driver’s license. Though that feeling of independence is important in many teens’ lives, we know that teenagers do not always make the best decisions; studies have shown that the brain of young adults is not actually finished developing until their mid-twenties. Because of information like this and statistics involving teen crashes and driving habits, many states have developed strict teen driving programs and specific penalties for teens who break the rules.

Graduated Driver Licensing Program

The state of Illinois requires teens to follow a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program before they can get their driver’s license. The program consists of three phases, each giving the driver more freedom as they gain more experience. The phases of Illinois’ GDL program are as follows:

  • Permit Phase (Age 15): During this phase, the teen must have a parent or guardian with them at all times while driving. They must also hold their permit for a minimum of nine months before they can get their initial driver’s license. During those nine months, the driver must not receive any driving infractions, underage alcohol convictions or court supervision.
  • Initial Licensing Phase (Ages 16-17): This phase begins after a driver successfully completes the permit phase. During this phase, the driver is subject to curfew hours and must not have more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 20 unless that passenger is an immediate family member. The driver must maintain a conviction-free driving record for at least six months prior to turning 18 to obtain full driver’s license privileges.
  • Full Licensing Phase (Ages 18-20): Once a driver turns 18, they are permitted to have full driver’s license privileges, though they are still subject to certain rules that drivers out of the GDL program are not. For example, any driver who is under the age of 19 is not permitted to use a cell phone while driving, including using hands-free mode.

 How Can a Traffic Violation Affect Teen Driving Privileges?

Receiving a traffic violation during the GDL program can affect your driving privileges in the following ways:

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IL traffic lawyerBeing pulled over by a police officer while you are driving is not an uncommon occurrence. According to a study conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were nearly 2.5 million traffic stops conducted in 2018. Police can pull you over for a variety of reasons, including moving violations, equipment violations, and even license or registration violations. Traffic stops tend to be quickly completed, so many people are left with questions after they have received a traffic citation. Here are a few of the most common questions people have about Illinois traffic violations.

What Do I Do If I Am Pulled Over?

The most important thing to remember if you are pulled over is to cooperate with the police officer. Officers do not take kindly to combative or argumentative drivers. Your attitude about the traffic stop can be the difference between you getting a ticket and you being let off with a warning.

If you are being pulled over, you should make sure you find a safe spot to pull over. Roll your windows down and keep your hands visible by placing them on the steering wheel or in your lap. Do not reach for your license, registration or proof of insurance until the officer asks you to do so. If the officer decides to issue you a ticket, accept the ticket and contest it later.

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IL defense lawyerEach year, there is more than $45 billion lost from inventory shrinkage in the retail industry in the United States. Inventory shrinkage is caused by things such as fraud, internal theft, shoplifting, and even organized retail crime. Though it may seem like a victimless crime, retail theft harms the economy. This is why retailers and law enforcement officials have placed increased focus on catching shoplifters and prosecuting them in recent years. In Illinois, retail theft encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, not simply just taking an item without paying for it. In some instances, retail theft charges can become felony charges, which mean you face harsher consequences than if the charges were just misdemeanor charges.

Misdemeanor Retail Theft Charges

In general, a first-offense retail theft charge will be considered a Class A misdemeanor. This means you will face up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and/or possible probation time as a punishment. Retail theft is typically a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders as long as the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $300 or $150 for motor fuel.

Felony Retail Theft Charges

It does not take much for retail theft charges to escalate to felony charges. The offender's prior history with theft, robbery, burglary, forgery or other related crimes can dictate whether or not a charge is elevated to a felony charge. If the person has been convicted of retail theft of merchandise less than $300 and was previously convicted of theft, robbery, burglary or related crimes, the retail theft charge will become a Class 4 felony. This means the person can face one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

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