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. 




Know Your Rights During an Illinois Traffic Stop

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

illinois traffic violations lawyerTraffic stops by police are the most common way that many people interact with law enforcement. In Illinois alone there are over two million traffic stops per year, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The common nature of these traffic stops means that it is important for people to understand what their traffic stop rights are, as well as what qualifies as a justifiable stop.

A Person’s Rights During a Traffic Stop

The two most important rights that people have during traffic stops are the right to remain silent and the right to refuse to consent to a search of their vehicle. The right to remain silent allows a person to refuse to answer questions the officer poses, such as, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Where were you heading tonight?” However, there is a practical component to this right. Cooperation with the officer can make the traffic stop smoother and more painless, so the extent to which a person benefits from exercising this right may vary. Furthermore, the right does not extend to refusing to supply a driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration if the officer asks for it.

The right not to consent to a search of the vehicle is another important right that arises commonly during traffic stops. Though police may ask for permission to search the vehicle, a driver is not required to give it. Importantly, this may not stop them from searching the car. If the police believe that they have probable cause to search the vehicle, then they can perform a warrantless search. However, it is easier to exclude evidence from the legal process if the police found it in a warrantless search, rather than in a search to which the person consented.

The right to refuse a search also has interesting implications for breathalyzer testing. Illinois has something known as an “implied consent law,” which basically states that a person automatically consents to DUI testing based on probable cause as a condition of receiving their license. While a person could still refuse a test, this would result in a suspension of their license for at least one year, and it may not actually help prevent a DUI conviction.

Justifiable Traffic Stops

Even before the traffic stop actually occurs, people’s constitutional rights come into play. This is because a traffic stop qualifies as seizure, which means that Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure apply. Consequently, the police may not stop a person without “specific and articulable facts” that give rise to a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. These facts can be things like traffic violations, missing license plates, or erratic behavior. Even anonymous tips called into the police can qualify in certain circumstances.

If you are facing criminal charges following a traffic stop, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer today. We help accused citizens in town across the northwest suburbs, including in Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, and Des Plaines.

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.

New Speed Limits on Illinois Roads: Keep Speeding Penalties in Mind

Web Admin - Friday, January 17, 2014

By Colin H. Gilbert


The New Year in Illinois comes with new speed limits to match. A new Illinois law raised the rural speed limits to 70 mph. A map that the Illinois Department of Transportation recently released details exactly which highways qualify for the new limit. As it turns out, about 90 percent of the Illinois highway by mileage will get the upgraded speeds. Although the law technically went into effect at the start of the year, the speed limits will not actually change until the state’s crews change the signs on the highways, a process they expect to complete by January 17th, assuming the weather permits.

With these new limits, motorists should keep aware of the penalties that come along with speeding violations. The most obvious consequence that comes along with a speeding violation in Illinois is the fine. Simple speeding tickets are petty offenses, which come with a fine capped at $1,000. However, speeding tickets in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit trigger the charge of reckless driving. In Illinois, reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor, which means that the fine can go as high as $2500. In cases of reckless driving, the judge may also sentence the offender to up to one year in prison.

In addition to the fines and jail time, speeding tickets also add points to a person’s license. The amount of points added depends upon how much the driver exceeds the posted speed limit by.

• 0-10 mph over the speed limit: 5 points
• 11-14 mph over the speed limit: 15 points
• 15-25 mph over the speed limit: 20 points
• 26 or more mph over the speed limit: 50 points
• Reckless driving: 55 points

  • The points on a driver’s license come into effect in the event that a driver receives three tickets in a 12 month period. If that happens, then the state can suspend their driver’s license for a certain amount of time, the length of which is determined by the number of points on the license.

• 15 to 44 points: 2 month suspension
• 45 to 74 points: 3 month suspension
• 75 to 89 points: 6 month suspension
• 90 to 99 points: 9 month suspension
• 100 to 109 points: 12 month suspension
• 110 points or more: revocation

If you have recently received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation, contact an Arlington Heights traffic attorney today. Their knowledge and experience can help ensure your rights are properly defended in Crystal Lake, Inverness, Deer Park, and the surrounding areas.

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

Web Admin - Friday, December 13, 2013

By Colin H. Gilbert 



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.

Red Light Cameras in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Web Admin - Thursday, November 21, 2013

Motorists come in contact with yellow lights at intersections daily. And while many slow to a stop to avoid a possible accident, others may risk their chances by gunning the engine through the changing lights above, often doing so with no repercussions.

Even if you avoid an accident, you may still be hit with a traffic citation for running a red light. In fact, with the proliferation of red light cameras throughout Illinois, residents in Chicagoland may find themselves being mailed tickets for allegedly running a red light and being caught on camera. Citations are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, even if the owner was not driving at the time.

The cameras are connected to traffic signals at select intersections. There is usually a constant low-resolution video feed being recorded, and sensors are connected to crosswalk lines and stop lines. When vehicles cross those lines after a light is red, a high-resolution camera is triggered that tries to captures the vehicle license plate and an image of the entire vehicle in the intersection.

The Consequences

If you are convicted of red light camera violation, you will have clear consequences. For starters, you will owe a fine­--typically $100. But it is not only a matter of money; the citation will affect your driving record and may result in 20 “points” being added to your license record. Considering the effect that this may have down the road, it is important to think twice before automatically paying the ticket.

Defending Yourself Against Red Light Tickets in Illinois

Under Illinois law, if you receive a ticket in the mail you have the option to request a hearing to contest the violation.  

Mistakes are frequently made by these automated systems. The technology is not perfect, and many resident who lawfully enter an intersection before a light is red, or make a right turn on a red light after properly stopping, still receive citations in the mail. The same Illinois law that allows administrative hearings to contest a charge also require municipalities to provide you with access to the recorded images of your supposed violation.

In addition, there are specific state rules that prevent municipalities from issuing citations in any manner they choose. For example, the law explains that a municipality “may not use an automated traffic law enforcement system to issue violations in instances where the motor vehicle comes to a complete stop and does not enter the intersection… even if the motor vehicle stops at a point past a stop line or crosswalk where a driver is required to stop…”

For help with red light ticket legal issues throughout the Chicagoland areas, including Lake County, Will County, DuPage County, and other nearby communities, please contact an experienced Illinois traffic lawyer today. We help residents in many northwest suburban areas including Arlington Heights, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, McHenry, and Crystal Lake defend themselves in these situations.

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