A large percentage of Chicago drivers will receive a traffic ticket or traffic violation citation at some point in their life. Most traffic violations are minor and the accused may have to pay a fine. However, there are some serious traffic violations in Chicago that could land you in jail, paying huge fines, and getting a suspended or revoked license.
People are often reluctant to challenge a traffic ticket or violation, out of fear of going to court or because they think there is no point in doing so. Police officers and traffic wardens sometimes take it for granted that individuals will not challenge their traffic tickets, and they may not even have sufficient evidence against you.
It is important to know that almost all traffic violations can be challenged in court, whether it is in a traffic court or a criminal court. The experienced Chicago traffic ticket lawyers from Hirsch Law Group have helped many clients dispute charges in a traffic court and have successfully reduced charges and got cases thrown out.
Our lawyers have seen how a traffic violation can affect an individual’s work, insurance premiums, driving record, and day-to-day life. Because of this, we work tirelessly to protect people from the negative impact of a traffic violation conviction, by contesting charges, building a strong criminal defense strategy, negotiating with prosecutors, and getting charges thrown out.
Our law firm has a team of highly experienced and skilled Illinois traffic lawyers who want to protect your future. Call our law offices today at 312-967-0275 to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago traffic ticket lawyer.
Common Traffic Violations in Chicago, IL
In Illinois, there is a distinction between traffic violations that result in a criminal charge and traffic infractions. Traffic violations that result in a criminal charge are distinct because they are tried in a Chicago criminal court and carry criminal penalties. There are two types of traffic violations; misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses.
Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses
Misdemeanor traffic convictions are criminal violations that typically involve no immediate harm to other drivers or pedestrians. These violations have the potential to harm other people, however, the charges are increased to a felony if another person is harmed.
Misdemeanor traffic violations are serious offenses under the law and can result in up to 1 year of jail time and fines of up to $25,000. In addition, a convicted driver can risk driver’s license suspension and will get a criminal record.
Some examples of misdemeanor traffic offenses include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Street racing
- Leaving the scene of a car accident with property damage
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Speeding 26 mph or more over the posted speed limit
- Attempting to elude a police officer
Depending on the severity of the offense, a misdemeanor traffic violation can increase to a felony charge if there were any aggravating factors, such as bodily harm, the presence of a minor in the vehicle, or a previous criminal or driving record.
Felony Traffic Offenses
Under Illinois law, felony charges are more serious than misdemeanor charges and will lead to harsher penalties. The penalties you can face for a felony conviction vary depending on the severity of the traffic violation, whether you have a criminal history, the charge brought against you, and mandatory minimum sentencing.
For a conviction, you could face from 1 to 30 years in prison, huge fines, and a revoked driver’s license. Examples of felony traffic violations include:
- Reckless driving resulting in bodily harm or death
- Vehicular homicide
- Leaving the scene of a car accident with injury or death
- Aggravated DUI
Besides the criminal penalties for a felony traffic offense in Chicago, you will receive a permanent driving and criminal record. With a criminal record, you will suffer difficulties later in life trying to secure a job, apply for education, get child custody, and much more. Although a traffic ticket or criminal violation may not seem serious, your future could be severely affected by a conviction.
Traffic Tickets in Chicago, IL
Chicago traffic tickets rarely result in criminal convictions. However, a traffic ticket will lead to penalty points being added to your license and you may have to pay fines for the alleged infraction.
Most people simply pay for a traffic or speeding ticket when it comes through the door, without questioning it. However, penalty points can affect your driving record down the line, and subsequent penalty points could lead to your driving privileges being revoked or suspended. It is important to dispute any moving violations with the help of a Chicago traffic lawyer.
Types of Traffic Tickets
Examples of common traffic tickets in Chicago include:
- Failing to yield
- Using a mobile phone when driving
- Following too closely behind a vehicle
- Speeding tickets for less than 25 mph over the limit
- Stop sign and red light violations
- Improper lane change
- Failing to wear a seat belt
- Parking violations
- Ordinance violations
Depending on the type of traffic ticket you receive, you may be required to make a court appearance. Our traffic ticket lawyers recommend disputing any type of traffic ticket you receive, if possible, particularly if it could cause penalty points and affect your driving privileges.
How a Traffic Ticket Can Affect Your Insurance Premium in Chicago, IL.
Although traffic tickets may seem minor, they can have a lasting effect on your insurance premium. In most instances, your insurance company will receive notification of a traffic ticket and may be inclined to increase your premium. Insurance companies want to get as much money from their customers as possible and will use a traffic ticket as a good excuse to do so.
Accepting a traffic ticket without disputing it means that you agree you broke the law. Driving unsafely, such as speeding, failing to yield, and violating a stop sign, is a valid reason for your insurance company to increase your rates. They will probably argue that you are more likely to cause a car accident or damage your motor vehicle.
Most of our clients that received traffic tickets suffered a hike in insurance premiums. The only way to prevent this is to ensure that you do not have to pay for your traffic ticket or get your charges reduced. The traffic attorneys from our law firm can help prevent your insurance premiums from being increased because of a traffic ticket or violation.
Will My Driving Record Be Harmed By a Traffic Violation in Chicago, IL?
If you receive a traffic ticket or violation, penalty points will be added to your driving record. Receiving three violations in one year can cause your license to be suspended or revoked. You may also face license suspension if the moving violation was a felony or misdemeanor offense.
The duration of your license suspension will depend on the number of penalty points you have on your record and the circumstances of your case. Pleading guilty can cause an automatic minimum suspension period to come into effect. However, contesting your violation may get the period reduced substantially. Penalty points will stay on your license for up to five years.
Life in Chicago can be significantly more difficult with a suspended driver’s license. Without a valid driver’s license, you cannot drive to work, pick your children up from school, drive to the grocery store, or carry out any daily tasks in a car. You will be reliant on public transportation and rides from other people.
On top of this, drivers will still have to pay all vehicle-related expenses with a suspended license. Even though you cannot drive your car, you will still have to pay for insurance, maintenance, repairs, etc. These costs plus extra public transport and carpooling costs can add up, which can make license suspension very expensive. The easiest way to get your license reinstated is by hiring a traffic lawyer with significant experience. An experienced attorney from Hirsch Law Group can help you with this process.
Can a Traffic Violation Be Expunged From My Record in Chicago, IL?
Violations causing penalty points cannot be expunged from your driving record. Penalty points will automatically expire after five years have passed. However, violations that end up on your criminal record can be expunged or sealed in most circumstances. Expungement is a complete erasure of violations from your criminal record and sealing is getting your violations concealed.
To apply for expungement or sealing, you must have passed the waiting period and have no incomplete criminal sentences or pending charges. Almost all Chicago traffic cases can be expunged or sealed, except for:
- Minor traffic offenses that resulted in a conviction or court supervision
- Convictions and court supervision for:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Reckless driving, with exceptions for individuals under the age of 25
- Violations that resulted in a felony or misdemeanor conviction
The process of sealing or expunging a criminal record in Chicago is quite complicated. There are certain requirements you must meet before you are eligible, and the court has the final decision on whether your record should be expunged or sealed. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, advise you on your eligibility, and petition on your behalf.
Traffic Lawyers at Hirsch Law Group
Hirsch Law Group has been helping clients dispute traffic tickets and violations for over 15 years. The consequences of tickets and violations on your driving record can be significant, resulting in a suspended or revoked license, huge fines, or a criminal conviction. Our lawyers will represent you at your court date to dispute the violation and ensure that you do not face harsh penalties.
We have a team of highly experienced traffic ticket lawyers that have handled thousands of cases similar to yours. Our lawyers have won multiple awards and recognitions for their hard work and dedication to clients. Our managing attorney, Gordon H. Hirsch, has been ranked among America’s Top 100 Attorneys and has an AVVO rating of 10.0. Attorney James Brzezinski is highly specialized in handling major traffic and DUI offenses and will do everything he can to get a positive outcome in your case.
Hirsch Law Group offers Mitigation Packets to all of our clients in criminal defense matters. A mitigation packet helps your defense by presenting an image of you to the prosecutor, rather than them seeing only your charge sheet.
A mitigation packet contains information about you as a person, including your lack of criminal record, education level, previous employment, awards or recognitions, military service, and references from employers and family.
Prosecutors deal with hundreds of traffic cases each month and they do not take the time to learn about the accused. Their priority is moving your case through the court quickly and getting their conviction rates up. When they have an image of you as a human being, they are more likely to negotiate for reduced charges or a reduced sentence.
Contact a Chicago Traffic Violations Lawyer Today!
Traffic violations are crimes worth defending. Many people think that a traffic ticket or citation will not have much impact, and simply pay the fine or do not contest it. However, if you pay a fine for a traffic violation, you are essentially pleading guilty to a criminal matter.
The consequences of this can be severe. You could face license suspension, suffer huge fines, receive penalty points on your license, have your insurance premiums hiked, and spend time in jail for a criminal conviction. At Hirsch Law Group, we have seen firsthand the consequences of too many traffic violations, which is why we help clients fight against these in court.
We believe all citizens may defend against charges brought against them, regardless of whether it is a traffic ticket or a DUI causing bodily harm. Having formerly worked as prosecutors, our lawyers have unique experience defending criminal charges and will use this experience to defend your traffic violation. Our lawyers care about your future and want to protect you as best we can.
An experienced Chicago traffic ticket lawyer from our firm will investigate your case, gather evidence to prove your innocence, fight to get your charges reduced, build a mitigation packet to support your case, and prevent severe penalties. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, we will fight to get it reinstated.
Call our law offices in Chicago, IL at 312-967-0275 to schedule a free initial consultation.