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Traffic Violations

IL defeense lawyerPeople who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held to higher standards than most other drivers on the road. This is because holding a CDL typically means you are driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) quite often, which is typically very large and heavy-duty. CMV’s are plenty safe when they are used in a correct and safe manner, but they can become extremely dangerous if a person drives recklessly or carelessly. Both state governments and the federal government have the power to create and enforce rules about CDL’s, CMV’s and the people who utilize them. In certain situations, your CDL can be put into danger of being revoked or disqualified if you commit certain acts, such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Illinois DUI Penalties

If you are charged with a DUI and you hold a CDL, you not only face penalties pertaining to your CDL but also to your standard Illinois driving privileges. A first-time DUI in Illinois is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you face up to one year in prison, up to $2,500 in fines and a one-year driver’s license revocation.

The Effect of a DUI on Your CDL

According to Illinois law, your CDL can be disqualified for a minimum of 12 months if you commit a first violation of:

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IL defense lawyerOne of the more serious vehicular crimes you can be charged with in Illinois is reckless homicide. Reckless homicide is similar to involuntary manslaughter in that the perpetrator did not intend to kill another person, except reckless homicide involves the use of a motor vehicle while involuntary manslaughter does not. Often times, car accidents that result in the death of someone are the product of a speeding driver, a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or a distracted driver. Reckless homicide charges are felony charges and can result in thousands of dollars in fines and jail time. This is why it is important to hire legal counsel if you have been accused of reckless homicide in Illinois.

What Is Reckless Homicide?

According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, reckless homicide occurs when a person unintentionally kills another person through the use of a motor vehicle without lawful justification. Reckless homicide involves actions that when committed are likely to cause death or great bodily harm and the perpetrator commits them recklessly. You can also be charged with reckless homicide if you kill someone with a motor vehicle while using an incline in a roadway to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

Penalties for Reckless Homicide

Basic reckless homicide is classified as a Class 3 felony. This means you face two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Charges can increase to more serious felonies in certain situations. If reckless homicide is committed where school children cross the street and a crossing guard is performing his or her duty, or in a construction zone, you can be charged with a Class 2 felony, carrying a sentence of three to 14 years in prison. If you kill two or more people from the same incident, prison sentences are doubled to six to 28 years in prison.

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IL defense attorneyIn the United States, commercial trucking is a large part of the economy and is one of the most common ways to transport goods throughout the country. According to the American Trucking Association, there were more than 36 million trucks registered and used for business purposes in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 3.5 million truck drivers employed. With so many large trucks on the road, truck accidents are not uncommon. Because of their large size and prevalence, numerous laws exist to protect others who are on the road. When a commercial driver violates those laws, they face serious consequences that can even threaten their driving privileges, such as the violations below.

Reckless Driving

Commercial motor vehicles (CMV’s) are very large in size and weight. Even when a large truck is not carrying a full load, it still weighs thousands of pounds, which can become very dangerous if a driver is not careful. Reckless driving is something that law enforcement and licensing agencies take very seriously. Common forms of reckless driving among commercial drivers include speeding, texting or using a cell phone while driving and erratic lane changes. Depending on the specific circumstances, a reckless driving violation could threaten your commercial driving privileges.

Hours of Service Violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the governing body that oversees commercial trucking and commercial licensing in the U.S. The FMCSA has rules that dictate how long a trucker is legally able to drive at a time. These are called hours of service and are taken very seriously. Driving fatigue is a real thing and the chances of an accident occurring increase when the driver is tired and unable to concentrate properly. Violating the hours of service rules can be bad news for a trucker.

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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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