Articles Posted in Traffic

Speeding-Ticket-Lawyer-300x200Recently, I have represented clients who received speeding tickets. In the course of representing these clients, I have come to realize that people do not really understand the Illinois Speeding Laws. In the last few years, the Illinois speeding laws have been changed. The changes have drastically increased the penalties for excessive speeding on Illinois roadways. Drivers are not adequately informed of what the potential consequences can be for a speeding ticket.

As someone who has received speeding tickets in the past, I remember when the biggest inconvenience associated with receiving a speeding ticket was having to take time off of work or school to go to Traffic Court at 321 North LaSalle, pay to park my car downtown, and wait for my case to be called and be dismissed because the police officer did not appear. Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans used to visit that building every year.  Those days have changed. What used to be a major inconvenience can now lead to a potential jail sentence and a suspension of your driver’s license. Let me explain how the Illinois Legislature has made speeding a potential crime and not just a mere inconvenience.

There have been some positive changes for Chicago residents.  For one thing, Traffic Court has now been moved into the lower levels of the Daley Center.  This makes it easier to get to traffic court.  The CTA train stops at the Daley Center so you don’t have to drive to Traffic Court and navigate your way through the heavy Loop traffic only to pay the high fees to park your car at a parking lot in the loop.  Traffic tickets are still being dismissed when police officers do not appear in Traffic Court but police officers are appearing in Traffic Court more often because Police Department policies have changed to require that police officers appear in Court.

Municipal-Ordinance-Violation-300x199The Public Safety Committee for the Village of Schaumburg has recommended that the Village of Schaumburg allow police officers to write local Municipal Violation tickets for first-time negligent driving offences. The measure is intended to go after drivers who are using hand-held cellphones while they are driving instead of hands-free devices. Village officials claim that the judges at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse are taking these tickets too lightly and not punishing offenders enough.

If this measure is adopted by the Schaumburg Village Board, police officers will have the option of writing a local Municipal Ordinance Violation ticket, issue written warnings, or issue a State Citation for a ticket violation which allow offenders an opportunity to go to Court and contest the ticket in Court, in front of an actual Judge. The fine for the Schaumburg Municipal Violation will be $75.

What’s a little troubling about this proposal is that the Public Safety Committee is proposing that the definition of negligent driving be defined more broadly than what current state law defines as negligent driving. According to one of the trustees of the Schaumburg Village Board, “the definition of negligent driving can be relevant even when an officer can’t prove a handheld cell phone was the cause.” In other words, if the police officer had a hunch, or was guessing, based on his experience, that a handheld device was being used, that would be enough to allow them to issue a ticket. I would like to see what the final ordinance says, but it seems to me as if officers will be allowed to issue these tickets based on a mere hunch without any proof. That does not seem very fair to me and could be open to a legal challenge which could cause Schaumburg’s taxpayers to pay the legal bills for a court fight.

DUIThe Arlington Heights Police Department has announced that they will have a Traffic Enforcement Campaign in place from June 26 to July 9, 2017. The Traffic Enforcement Campaign coincides with the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. The Traffic Enforcement Campaign will check motorists and vehicles for seatbelt violations, DUI driving, and a roadside safety checkpoint. The first roadside safety checkpoint will take place on June 28th on Arlington Heights Road just south of Algonquin Road. A roadside safety checkpoint is a way that the police can look inside your vehicle and pull you over to the side if they smell something, or see something inside the car, or suspect that the driver is up to no good. What the Arlington Heights Police are planning on doing this weekend is commonly known as a “Police Roadblock.” The Arlington Heights Police will be looking for people that are not wearing their seat belts and are Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. The enforcement campaign is being paid for with Federal Traffic Safety Funds and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

If the Arlington Heights Police pull you over and suspect that you are Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, you will be asked to pull over and exit your vehicle. The police officer will ask you to perform a series of tests on the side of the road (Field Sobriety Tests) to determine whether you were Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. If the police officer has reason to believe that you are drunk, the officer will ask you to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). The results of the PBT test cannot be used against you in court to prove that you were Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. But the results of the PBT can be used to establish probable cause, or a valid reason, for the police officer to place you under arrest for a DUI. If the police officer believes that you failed those tests and the PBT detected alcohol in your breath, the officer may take you down to the Arlington Heights Police Department and ask that you take a breathalyzer test. The Arlington Heights police officer will inform you that if you take the breathalyzer test and the test registers a blood alcohol content of .08 or above, not only will you be arrested and charged with a DUI, but your license will be suspended for 6 months. The Arlington Heights police officer will inform you that if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for 12 months. This license suspension is known as the Statutory Summary. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test the officer may still arrest you and charge you with a DUI if the officer believes that he has enough evidence to prove you guilty of a DUI in Court. Proof that could be used against you could be the results of the Field Sobriety Tests, the officer’s observations and opinion, any statements you made to the officer, any witness statements, and any video of you of the Field Sobriety Tests.

If you are charged with a DUI in Arlington Heights, you will be allowed to post a cash bond at the Police Station and go home.  Your car will be impounded and you will need to pay fees to the Village of Arlington Heights to get your car back.  The longer you wait to get your car back the higher the fees will be.  You will be assigned a court date at the Cook County Courthouse in Rolling Meadows. All Arlington Heights DUI cases are held at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse. The Statutory Summary Suspension of your driver’s license will take effect on the 46th day following your arrest for a DUI in Arlington Heights. The only way to stop the Statutory Summary Summary Suspension of your driver’s license, or to reinstate a suspended license following a Statutory Summary Suspension, is to file a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension in Court. The Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension can be filed anytime after you are arrested. However, you cannot file a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension more than 90 days after you are arrested for a DUI.