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Importance of Taking Traffic Violations Seriously

Web Admin - Monday, September 14, 2015

If you have been a driver for a significant length of time, it is likely you have, at the very least, been pulled over by a police officer. In the worst case scenario, you will have been cited for a traffic violation. If this happens, it may be beneficial to consult with an attorney to fully understand and protect your legal rights.

Consequences of Too Many Violations

Under Illinois Administrative Code, if an individual is convicted of three or more designated traffic violations in a 12 month period, it will result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation. Some examples of violations that can lead to this include speeding, street racing, or reckless driving. Most of the moving violations are codified in Chapter 11 of the Illinois Code, but not all of them (for example, driving without a valid license is found in Chapter 6).

For moving violations, it may be possible to be sentenced to court supervision that lasts a period of between 90 and 120 days. If, at the end of the supervision term, the driver has not been cited for another moving violation, the ticket is dismissed without a conviction. The driver must also have paid all applicable fines and court costs.

The supervision period begins on the date the driver pleads guilty or is found guilty in traffic court. If the driver is cited for another moving violation during the period, the supervision sentence is revoked and the driver is convicted on the underlying ticket. Additionally, the new ticket also counts towards the three-ticket limit. A person can only be given court supervision twice in one year.

Importantly, equipment violations do not usually count toward the limit of three violations. Examples of equipment violations include driving without a taillight, while not wearing a seatbelt, or with a loud muffler.

Length of Suspension

The length of suspension is determined by how many points the individual has on their driving record and whether he or she has had any prior license suspensions. Drivers accumulate points on their record when they are convicted of a violation. The following table is for drivers with no prior suspensions within the seven-year period from the effective date of the suspension or revocation:                   

                    Number of Points                                      Action                            

                             0-14                                         No Action

                             15-44                                       2-month suspension

                             45-74                                       3-month suspension

                             75-89                                       6-month suspension

                             90-99                                       9-month suspension

                             100-109                                   12-month suspension

                             110 or more                             Revocation

Under Illinois law, driving on a suspended license is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $2,500. Additionally, the period of suspension will be extended to a like period of time as the original suspension.

While moving violations usually can be taken care of by simply paying a fine, in some cases, there may be additional consequences. As a result, it is important that you treat moving violations seriously. If you would like more information, speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today. Our firm provides representation for communities like Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.

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, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association. 


Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/092/092010400000300R.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K6-303

The Dangers of Hands Free Cell Phone Use While Driving

Web Admin - Friday, November 28, 2014

hands free device danger, Illinois personal injury lawyerEveryone knows they should avoid texting and driving. Focusing on a smartphone screen rather than the road is a recipe for disaster, and may lead to serious accidents. This common sense principle has led Illinois to pass a law forcing drivers to only use hands free devices when they are driving. However, even though hands free cell phone use lets people keep their eyes on the road, it still does not entirely remove the distraction of speaking on the phone. Additionally, the use of hands free technology may also bring a curious piece of human psychology known as the Peltzman effect into play.

Hands Free Device Statistics

Hands free driving seems like it should make people safer, but some studies show it may actually pose even more risks. Either way, the statistics show that it can still be dangerous. For instance, even though only nine percent of drivers are using phones at any given time, these drivers are involved in 26 percent of all crashes. This is because 90 percent of crashes involve driver error rather than the environment or mechanical failures.

A lot of the problems caused by phones are a function of how the brain processes information. Although many people believe they are capable of multitasking, that is actually an illusion. The brain cannot actually perform multiple tasks at one time. Instead, the brain switches rapidly back and forth between the two tasks, but it does not do it perfectly. This means that the brain's visual processing can be reduced by up to 33 percent while on the phone. This can lead to people missing half of everything going on around them while they talk. However, that failure to multitask is not the only human mental quirk that affects this scenario.

The Peltzman Effect

People using hands free technology may also be falling victim to what economists refer to as the Peltzman effect. The Peltzman effect, which was originally identified by its namesake in the 70s, relates to the fact that people generally have a reasonably constant amount of risk they are willing to take. This can result in regulations that are designed to keep people safe actually having a diminished effect because people are then more willing to take other risks. For instance, people may feel safer when using hands free technology, so they may be more willing to drive faster or pay less attention to the road. Importantly, economists still debate how much extra risk the Peltzman effect actually encourages people to take. Although numerous studies have found evidence of its existence, the magnitude of its impact varies greatly between each study.

Distracted driving is dangerous, regardless of the distraction. If you have recently been injured by the carelessness of a distracted driver, contact a Crystal Lake personal injury attorney today. Our firm helps injured victims across the northwest suburbs in towns like Palatine, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and Barrington.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Collisions in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 06, 2014

illinois pedestrian bicycle accident attorneyPedestrians walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street know to watch out for cars, but many are unaware of just how dangerous a passing bicycle can be and what to do in the event that they end up in an accident with a bike. Collisions between bikes and pedestrians are surprisingly dangerous and more common than many people expect. While exact numbers are difficult to find, since many bike accidents go unreported, a study from Hunter College estimates that over 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year for injuries resulting from bike collisions in New York State alone.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of understanding on by both cyclists and pedestrians about what rules of the road bikes must obey. This leads to confusion on the part of the pedestrian about what the cyclists will to do in any given situation. The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a good guide regarding how traffic laws apply to bikes, but the rule of thumb is that a bicycle in the street must obey all laws that any other vehicle would, and a bicyclist on the sidewalk must obey the laws and signals used by pedestrians.

Harm from Bicycle Accidents

While bicycles lack the mass and speed of a car, they can still do serious harm to unprotected pedestrians in an accident. Some of the most common severe injuries that result from these sorts of accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Pedestrians can develop these types of injuries if they suffer a hard blow to the head after a bike knocks them down. The most common symptom of a TBI is a concussion, but they can also result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and even coma in more serious cases. Bike accidents can also frequently cause broken bones, depending on the speed at which they happen and the way the pedestrian falls.

What to Do after a Bicycle Accident

The steps to take after a bicycle accident are similar to those that follow a car crash: make sure everyone is ok, call for medical attention if necessary, alert the police, and exchange information with the other party. The major difference is that bike accidents are more prone to turning into hit-and-runs. While bicyclists are obliged to stay at the scene of an accident just like drivers, many do not realize that they have that duty, and some who do know choose to flee the scene anyway. The best course of action here is to get as much identifying information about the fleeing cyclist as possible, and then make a report to the police.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian versus bicycle accident, reach out to an Illinois personal injury attorney today. They can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Our firm lends its experience and knowledge to clients across the northwest suburbs, in places such as Inverness, Deer Park, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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.

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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