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Traffic Violations

IL traffic attorneyIn today’s world, there is so much more that exists that can distract a driver than ever before. While distractions like outside objects such as billboards and crash sites and internal distractions such as the radio and other passengers have been around for decades, the 21st century has also brought with it unique distractions that have become a very large problem over the past two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30,000 people were killed and an estimated 319,000 people were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver in 2015.

Cell phones and other hand-held devices have been the subject of much of the conversation around distracted driving. Most states -- Illinois included -- have adopted strict laws in an attempt to curb the dangerous and deadly habit of using your cell phone while driving. When it comes to people who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the rules are even more strict and the penalties more severe.

Texting and Driving

The Illinois Vehicle Code states that a person driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is not permitted to text while they are driving. In addition, a person’s motor carrier may not require its drivers to text while they are driving. If you are caught violating this rule, you will receive 20 points on your driving record. After three violations within a 12-month period, your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked.

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IL defense lawyerIn the state of Illinois, there are dozens upon dozens of things you could receive a traffic ticket for. Maybe you thought you could beat the yellow light and you ended up running a red light instead. Maybe you were not watching your speed and you were caught going 10 miles per hour over the limit. Whatever the offense, most of the time when a police officer pulls you over, you will probably only receive a ticket for a moving violation. In certain circumstances, you may be pulled over because you committed a more serious offense. One of the more serious traffic offenses you can be charged with is reckless driving. Reckless driving is more than just a traffic ticket -- you can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony crime, depending on the circumstances.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving?

According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, a person can commit reckless driving in one of two ways:

  • By driving a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or their property; or
  • By knowingly driving a vehicle and using an incline in a roadway to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

As you can see, there are not really any specific actions that constitute reckless driving. It is up to the discretion of the arresting police officer and the judge to determine whether or not reckless driving has taken place. Examples of reckless driving may be:

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IL defense lawyerThere are a plethora of reasons why people speed when they are driving. Maybe you are running late for work and you push on the pedal a little harder to get there quicker. Maybe you are rushing to get to the hospital because your wife is in labor with your child. Perhaps you do not even realize that you are speeding at all or maybe you know you are speeding but you do not think you will receive a ticket for only going 10 mph over the limit. Whatever the reason, it is illegal to speed when there is a posted speed limit on the road. The penalties for speeding become even more serious when you disobey the speed limit in an Illinois construction zone.

Petty Offense Speeding Tickets

In Illinois, it is illegal for you to disobey the speed limit on any road, no matter if it is a construction zone or not. Though you can receive a ticket for any speeding offense, you will not be charged with a crime unless you are going a certain amount over the speed limit. As long as you are going less than 26 mph over the speed limit, you will only be committing a petty offense, meaning you will receive a ticket with a fine of at least $250 for the first violation and at least $750 for a second or subsequent violation.

Aggravated Speeding in a Construction Zone

If you are caught going more than 26 mph over the speed limit, you can be charged with aggravated speeding. Aggravated speeding, in general, can be a serious charge, but penalties get even more severe if you are speeding in a construction zone. Aggravated speeding in a construction zone carries the following penalties:

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IL defense lawyerIf you have a driver’s license in Illinois, then you have an Illinois driving record. One of the most common traffic violations in the state of Illinois and in the United States is speeding. Because speeding can cause real damage to property and other drivers, Illinois law enforcement officers and others in the criminal justice system take speeding charges very seriously. Every time you are pulled over or issued a ticket for any moving or non-moving violation, it is recorded onto your driving record. For certain jobs, a marred driving record can be detrimental, which is why some people seek to have their traffic violations expunged - but can you?

Minor Traffic Offenses and Expungement

The short answer is, maybe. For the most part, minor traffic offenses cannot be expunged in Illinois. A minor traffic offense is defined as a petty offense, business offense or Class C misdemeanor under the Illinois Vehicle Code. Typically, only criminal offenses are able to be expunged, so since a minor traffic offense is not a criminal offense, it cannot be expunged. There is one way around this rule, though. If you were arrested for a minor traffic offense, but you were released without being charged, you may be able to expunge or seal that record.

Misdemeanor Speeding Tickets and Expungement

There are two levels of speeding in Illinois and they carry two different crime classifications. If you are arrested for speeding between 26 mph and 34 mph, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If you are arrested for speeding 35 mph or more over the speed limit, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. You can petition to expunge these arrests if:

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IL traffic lawyerSpeeding is a serious crime -- according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding was a factor in 27 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in 2016. Because of this, law enforcement agencies across the country have begun cracking down on those who speed, especially those who speed at extremely high speeds. Being pulled over for speeding is not uncommon and the consequences you face after a traffic stop depend partly on how you conduct yourself during the traffic stop. Here are a couple of tips to follow if you are pulled over for speeding in Illinois:

Pull Over as Soon as Possible

Obviously, the first thing you should do when you see a police officer attempting to pull you over is to pull off to the right-hand shoulder of the road. If there is not a safe place to pull over, turning your hazard lights on can signal to the officer that you acknowledge him while you find a safe spot to stop.

Stay in Your Vehicle

Once you are pulled over, do not leave your vehicle. The main thing the police officer is concerned with is his personal safety and you getting out of your vehicle is seen as a threat to his safety. Unless the officer tells you to step out of your vehicle, stay seated.

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