Experienced Chicago Traffic Ticket Attorneys
Society requires rules for it to function. In a world in which most of us regularly use our vehicles to get around, there is a need for rules of the road. Sometimes, we find these to be highly inconvenient. Sometimes, even the most cautious of us inadvertently break these rules. And sometimes, we get caught doing so.
You can admit guilt and pay the fine if you have received a traffic ticket. This is often the quickest way to rid yourself of the problem. Before you do that, consider your medium and long-term consequences.
By admitting guilt, you face the following consequences:
You accumulate points against your license and could see your license suspended or even revoked. Consider how difficult it will be once your license is revoked or suspended;
Your insurance rates are likely to be increased by your insurance company. These recurring costs could make your driving experience significantly more expensive over time. Penalty points on your license remain there for at least five years. Even if you switch insurance companies, you face the prospect of higher premiums.
In Illinois, you have the right to defend yourself against all traffic ticket violations. Minor traffic ticket violations may not even require your court appearance. A traffic lawyer can attend and let you know about the outcome later.
It is always a good idea to consult Chicago traffic ticket lawyers before deciding if you have received a traffic ticket. Your decision will depend on the severity of the ticket and the possible consequences. You may also want to speak with the court directly to discuss your options.
What Is a Traffic Ticket?
Ticketing is the process of issuing tickets to drivers and other road users for allegedly breaking state traffic laws. Usually, they are issued by a policeman, but sometimes they are also computer generated.
The ticket will describe the offense and the related ordinance allegedly contravened. The ticket will indicate whether you need to appear in court or not. If you are not required to appear in court, you can admit guilt and pay the fine.
You are required to sign the ticket. Signing, however, does not constitute an admission of guilt. Individuals may face other charges for refusing to sign traffic tickets.
Even though arrests are usually reserved for DUIs, it is also important to be aware of the possibility of being arrested if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic offense. Regardless of the reason for being pulled over, it is important to maintain a respectful demeanor.
Typical Traffic Ticket Offences in Chicago
There are many traffic violations on the books. The Hirsch Law Group has defended thousands of clients. Our Chicago traffic ticket attorney has crafted a criminal defense for the following:
Speeding in a school zone
Failure to stop for an emergency vehicle
Boarding/exiting school bus
Passing a school bus while loading or unloading
Speeding in a construction zone
Running red light tickets
Following too closely
Wrong way ticket
Unsafe lane changing
Failure to use the turn signal
Driving with no insurance
Driving on a suspended license
Intentionally damaging or removing a traffic sign
The Classes of Traffic Violations
Traffic violations in Illinois are categorized as petty or misdemeanor offenses.
Petty Traffic Violation Offences
Typically, petty traffic violations are minor offenses. Examples would be failing to stop at a stop sign or running a red light. Other examples include some speeding and traffic lane change violations.
Petty offenses are punishable by a fine. No jail time is possible. Penalties range from $1 to $ 1,000. The court determines the amount based on the evidence.
It is possible to request court supervision for a first offense. The court may order that a fine be paid and that the accused attend Traffic Safety School. Once the accused person has complied with the supervision order, the case will be dismissed. The benefit for the accused is that there will be no conviction on their driving record.
Misdemeanor Traffic Violation Offences
Misdemeanors are divided into three classes:
Misdemeanor: Class A
Class A misdemeanors are more serious traffic violations.
A speeding ticket is elevated from petty to a Class A misdemeanor when the driver exceeds the posted limit by 35 mph or more. These are called aggravated speeding tickets.
Other typical Class A misdemeanors could include:
Driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license
In Illinois, Class A misdemeanors could result in a maximum of a one-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $2,500.
Misdemeanor Class B
Although not as severe as Class A misdemeanors, Class B is still serious.
A maximum jail sentence of 6 months is possible with a maximum fine of $1,500.
Typical examples include driving on an expired license for more than a year and driving between 26 and 35mph over the speed limit.
Misdemeanor: Class C
The least serious of the misdemeanor traffic violations, Class C misdemeanors can result in up to thirty days in prison and fines up to $1,000.
The minimum fine payable is $75.
An example would be the intentional damage or removal of a traffic sign.
Moving Violations and Equipment Violations Explained
Petty offenses are categorized as moving violations and equipment violations.
Moving violations pertain to the physical control of a vehicle. For example, as stated above, speeding is a moving violation. You will get a speeding ticket as a moving violation.
Convictions for moving violations are documented on your public driving record. If you are wondering, “Do Moving Violations Go On Your Record?” The answer is usually yes; moving violation convictions are entered on your public driving record.
For individuals under 21, acquiring two distinct moving violation convictions within 24 months can lead to a license suspension, typically lasting between three to twelve months.
For individuals aged 21 and older, accumulating three separate convictions for moving violations within a 12-month timeframe can result in license suspension or revocation.
Penalties for moving violations are wide-ranging and depend on the offense and the circumstances of the case.
Equipment violation examples include broken windshields, unsafe tires, non-working headlights, and taillights. Other examples include failure to wear a seat belt and improper registration.
Even repeat equipment violations do generally not result in suspension or revocation.
Reasons for Refusing to Sign a Ticket
As mentioned earlier, it is important to maintain a respectful demeanor during any interaction with law enforcement. This is especially true if you are issued a traffic ticket or citation.
It may be tempting to refuse to sign the ticket to avoid admitting guilt. However, refusing to sign a ticket can result in immediate arrest and even an additional charge for obstructing justice.
Moreover, refusing to sign a ticket does not mean you are exempt from the penalties associated with the traffic violation.
Signing the ticket does not equate to an admission of guilt. It simply acknowledges that you have received it and understand the potential consequences. You can still contest the ticket in court if you wish to do so.
Defenses Against Traffic Violations
You can contest a traffic violation in court. However, seeking the guidance of a lawyer experienced in handling traffic violations is recommended to prepare an effective defense.
Possible defenses include:
Faulty equipment leading to an inaccurate reading or measurement: This can apply to speeding tickets or equipment violations.
Lack of evidence: The prosecution must prove that the accused committed the traffic violation beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is not enough substantial evidence, the case may be dismissed.
Inaccurate or missing information on the ticket: Any mistakes or discrepancies in the information on the ticket could lead to its dismissal in court. This includes incorrect date, time, or location.
Improper traffic stop: Law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to pull over a vehicle. Any resulting tickets may be deemed invalid if the traffic stop was unjustified.
Valid justification for the violation: In certain cases, there may be a valid reason for committing the traffic violation. This could include a medical emergency, a mechanical vehicle issue, or following law enforcement’s instructions.
It is important to note that while contesting a traffic violation can be time-consuming, it may be worth the effort to avoid points on your driving record and potential increases in insurance rates.
How The Hirsch Law Group Can Help
Before you plead guilty and pay that traffic fine, consider the consequences for your future.
At Hirsch Law Group, we have a team of Illinois traffic lawyers that will help you defend against tickets and violations in a traffic court.
Our attorneys are all former prosecutors. We understand how prosecutors work. We will employ our unique experience to develop a comprehensive defense strategy for your case. We will fight aggressively on your behalf in court.
Our lawyers have years of experience defending our Chicago clients against criminal and traffic issues. We have a deep understanding of local laws and policies.
Call us today for a free initial consultation and Free Initial Meeting.
Traffic Ticket Lawyer Chicago – Cook County– Lake – DuPage County
If You Have Been Arrested – Know Your Rights
1. Do not answer questions or reply to accusations
2. Verbally tell the police that you do not want them to search yourself, your car, house, or property
3. Call Gordon H. Hirsch (815) 855-2028