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Results in Traffic Court: Conviction, Conditional Discharge, and Supervision

Web Admin - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

illinois traffic court lawyerFrom speeding tickets to car accidents, traffic court is one of the most common ways that people find themselves involved in the legal system. While people can sometimes avoid the hassle of going to court by simply mailing the ticket in with payment, that is often not the most prudent strategy. Mailing the ticket in with payment is equivalent to a guilty plea. This means that it will likely affect a person’s insurance rates, as well as add points to their license, which can eventually result in a license suspension or revocation if a person receives too many points over a specific a period of time. Conviction for more serious crimes, such as driving under the influence (DUI), can also have serious consequences, like impairing a person’s ability to receive professional licenses, or impacting their future employment prospects.

A better strategy for handling a traffic ticket of any magnitude is to go to the courthouse and contest it. When a person contests a traffic ticket, a few different things can happen. First, the ticket can be dropped altogether or the person can be found not guilty. While this is certainly not a common occurrence, it can happen, especially if a person has only a minor ticket, such as a speeding violation, and if their lawyer can present extreme or unusual evidence to explain why the violation occurred. More commonly, a person can receive a conditional discharge or court supervision. Those two outcomes are very different, and they can have a large impact on the ultimate cost of the traffic ticket.

Conditional Discharge Versus Court Supervision

Conditional discharges are a form of probation that the court imposes on someone after they have been convicted of a traffic violation, often along with fines or traffic school. The difference between conditional discharge and ordinary probation is that the court will monitor the person’s compliance with the particular conditions laid out in a discharge. The problem with receiving a conditional discharge is that, because it counts as a conviction, it will appear on a person’s record with the Secretary of State, which can cause an increase in insurance premiums. Those costs can be quite high, even for minor speeding tickets, which, according to Forbes, can cause insurance premiums to rise over 10 percent.

Supervision differs from a conditional discharge in that it is not technically a conviction. That means that, even though the court may impose fines or traffic school for the violation, it will not increase a person’s insurance premiums, which can add up to a savings of hundreds of dollars every year, depending on how severe the offense was.

If you recently received a traffic ticket, contact a Des Plaines traffic attorney today. Our firm serves towns across northwest suburban Cook County including Deer Park, Rolling Meadows, and Buffalo Grove. We have experience defending people accused of traffic violations, and can help you avoid the hassle and expense of a conditional discharge.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, real estate law, and corporate law. He is involved in his local Illinois community as an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association, Northwest Suburban Bar Association, and the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, Colin was nominated for 2012 Business Leader of the Year by the Chamber.

What Happens if I Get Caught Driving Without a License in Illinois?

Web Admin - Friday, December 13, 2013

By Colin H. Gilbert 

cgilbert@dgaalaw.com

http://www.dgaalaw.com/colin-gilbert.html

The State of Illinois takes driving without a license very seriously. The law does not view this like a mere speeding ticket or red light violation. Instead, the Illinois Vehicle Code allows the state to pursue criminal charges against drivers who get on the road without a license.

The law breaks down the seriousness of getting caught driving without a license into three separate categories depending on a variety of factors. These factors include whether or not the reason the person has a license, whether the person ever had a license, and the person’s age.

Driving without a license starts off as a petty offense. The law considers it a petty offense if the person had a license at one point in the past year, and merely let it lapse. In these cases the law limits the punishment to a $500 fine. If the person’s license expired more than a year ago, or if the driver in question is below the age to get a driver’s license then the law upgrades the crime to a class B misdemeanor. 

Class B misdemeanors can trigger punishments of up to $1,500 in fines, and 180 days in prison. However, jail time for unlicensed driving in this case is uncommon, and judges are allowed to sentence offenders to probation or community service instead. The law may also punish driving without a license as a Class A misdemeanor in the event that the driver committed the offense after the Secretary of State suspended or revoked their license. In these cases, the court may sentence the offender to up to a year in prison, along with $2,500 dollars in fines.

Additionally, people caught driving without a license face more than just criminal sanctions. The Secretary of State will also get involved by suspending their license. License suspensions can last anywhere from two months to a year depending on the number of convictions for driving without a license that a person has received. Also, license suspension affects even those people who never received a driver’s license, since they will be unable to get one for the length of their suspension. Furthermore, after a person’s fifth conviction, the Secretary of State can revoke a person’s driving privileges. In this instance, the state will not allow the person to drive until they have recovered their privileges in a formal hearing.

 

If you face criminal charges for driving without a license, you do not have to go through the process alone. Contact a Schaumburg criminal defense lawyer today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Barrington, and other nearby communities.

Consequences for Illinois Traffic Tickets: What You Should Know

Web Admin - Friday, November 08, 2013

Drivers in Illinois face a complex system of penalties every time they get a traffic ticket or moving violation. These penalties can include fines, points on their driving record, and even the suspension of a driver’s license. Plus, convictions for traffic offenses often increase the cost of a person’s car insurance.

Traffic Violation Consequences

One of the most immediate and noticeable results of a traffic conviction is the fine that tends to accompany them. These fines range anywhere from $50 to $350 for most offenses, while more serious violations, like DUIs, can cost $2500 for a first offender. But, Illinois imposes penalties beyond those fines for traffic tickets. The state of Illinois uses a point system to track a driver’s history of offenses. These point values range from five points for driving below the minimum speed limit all the way up to 55 points for reckless driving.

Accruing points can cause serious problems for drivers, especially if they commit three traffic offenses within a twelve month period. If that happens, the state can suspend their driver’s license for a certain amount of time (anywhere from two to 12 months) based on the number of points on the license. Additionally, if the driver has over 110 points on their license the state can revoke their license. Unlike suspensions, which end after a certain amount of time, revocations last at least one year, but may last longer and depend on the government’s discretion.

Traffic convictions also increase a driver’s insurance premiums. One study showed that convictions can raise rates by as much as 22 percent for something like reckless driving, or 11 percent for a smaller offense like speeding. To put that in perspective, the average driver pays $850 a year to insure their car, which means that a speeding ticket would cost about $85 every year on top of the fine and the risk of suspension.

What You Can Do Before Conviction

You can take several steps to avoid the consequences that come along with traffic convictions. Of course, you should always drive carefully and obey the rules of the road. Beyond that, taking a defensive driving may qualify you for a reduction in your car insurance rates. Additionally, contesting the traffic tickets can help you avoid these consequences.

Fighting the ticket in court can severely decrease, and even completely eliminate the penalties that come from traffic violations. And, you don’t have to fight it on your own. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights traffic attorney today. We help residents throughout the area, including Chicago, Crystal Lake, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Buffalo Grove.


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