Articles Posted in Traffic Accident

Every year, our attorneys see a variety of important changes to Illinois traffic laws. Here are a few of the new Illinois traffic-related laws effective in 2019.

1. Your first cell phone ticket will count as a moving violation. A first offense violation of the law prohibiting the use of electronic devices while driving will be charged as a moving violation. Under previous Illinois law, this offense only constituted a moving violation after a 2nd or subsequent offense. Fines under the new law are set at $75.00 – 1st offense; $100.00 – 2nd offense; $125.00 – 4th offense; and $150.00 – 4th or subsequent offense. These fines do not include mandatory fees/court costs. This law will become effective July 1, 2019.

2. You are no longer required to sign your citation in order to be released. A person who is stopped for a petty traffic offense, which includes most ordinary traffic offenses under the Illinois Vehicle Code, is no longer required to sign the citation in order to be released. Please note that petty offenses do not include more serious traffic offenses such as DUI, Driving While Revoked or Suspended, Reckless Driving, Leaving the Scene or an Accident, Drag Racing, etc. This law became effective January 1, 2019.

The Chicago DUI defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have decades of combined experience representing clients facing DUI charges as well as other traffic-related cases. Our approach combines a comprehensive knowledge of Illinois DUI law with the ability to negotiate and litigate in order to secure the most favorable outcome for our clients.

Chicago DUI Defense Case Study – Cook County, Illinois

The summary below describes a recent case handled by the DUI defense lawyers at The Davis Law Group, P.C. This specific DUI arrest occurred in the City of Chicago and was litigated at the Daley Center located in downtown Chicago. This particular courthouse is officially known as the Circuit Court of Cook County’s First Municipal District.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding driving records in Illinois. Driving records are different across all 50 states. Illinois driving records are maintained by the Illinois Secretary of State. They also are often referred to as driving record abstracts and motor vehicle records (MVR).

What information appears on an Illinois driving record?

  • Convictions (traffic tickets, including those issued in other states)

Courtroom etiquette has many written and unwritten rules and, as we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions, so how you appear and how you behave during your court appearance may have a significant impact on your case. In some extreme circumstances, bad behavior can result in jail time or a fine if you are found in contempt of court. To make a good first impression, you should familiarize yourself with the rules and make sure you adhere to them.

Planning for Your Day in Court

The courthouse is a place of employment for the judge and the court staff. As everybody else, they want to keep their work day smooth and efficient. By arriving on time and following the rules, you show the court the proper respect it deserves and allow the court to maintain efficiency. By doing so, you are also increasing your chances of a more favorable outcome.

The traffic attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. are passionate about what they do and will provide you with both knowledgeable and aggressive representation in the courtroom. Our priority is to minimize or completely eliminate the negative impact a ticket may have on your driving record and ensure the best possible result.

What distinguishes us from other traffic lawyers is our commitment to providing customized representation to our clients. That’s why we offer free initial consultations to our prospective clients, so we can analyze your situation and advise you of your options.

How Can The Davis Law Group, P.C. Help Me With My Illinois Traffic Ticket?

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, traffic tickets for moving violations will stay on your Illinois driving record for four to five years from the date of conviction. Moving violations include offenses such as speeding, disobeying a stop sign, disobeying a traffic control light, and improper lane usage.  The Secretary of State generally removes these offenses at their discretion during that timeframe.

Traffic tickets that result in a suspension or revocation will stay on your driving record for at least seven years from the date of license reinstatement. Convictions for alcohol and drug-related offenses (i.e. DUI) will permanently stay on your Illinois driving record.

Only court supervision or a dismissal will prevent a traffic ticket from showing up on your public driving record in Illinois. Convictions not only count toward the suspension of your driver’s license, but can significantly effect insurance premiums.

The number of speeding tickets issued by Illinois State Police troopers has dropped significantly over the past 5 years according to a report by the State-Journal Register. The number of speeding tickets decreased by 40% from 211,857 in 2010 to 126,959 in 2015. In 2016, it is estimated that the Illinois State Police will issue approximately 104,000 speeding tickets.

The article analyzed data through Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act.

While the number of speeding tickets has declined, the number of traffic fatalities is up from 5 years ago. For the first time since 2008, the number of traffic fatalities in Illinois has surpassed 1,000. However, the number of fatalities is significantly lower than 15 years ago. In 2001, there were 1,414 fatalities and in the 1970’s, the numbers were typically around 2,000.

An electronic insurance verification program may soon be implemented in Illinois. This program will make it much easier for officers to catch those driving without car insurance. In 2014, the Illinois legislature established a committee to design the program, which will likely include a computer database that would be accessible to law enforcement during traffic stops. The system would allow officers to ensure you are up to date on your monthly insurance payments. Often, individuals make a down payment on their insurance, receive their insurance card, and do not follow up on monthly payments, allowing their coverage to lapse while retaining the card showing that they are insured. As of now, in order to ensure you are currently covered by insurance, officers must call the insurance company.

It is expected that the Secretary of State will adopt the rules for the program by 2016. The agency has estimated that of the 9 million licensed drivers in Illinois, 6% are uninsured.

Michigan has recently adopted a similar program, allowing police to access information on whether a vehicle is insured by running the license plate through their computer. Michigan insurance companies are required to transmit policy information twice a month, so the information provided to officers is reasonably accurate.

According to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (“AAIM”), a non-profit citizens action group that has tracked Illinois DUI arrests since 1982, Lake County made the most DUI arrests in the state in 2013. The 233 officers averaged 1.49 arrests per officer, bringing the total number of arrests to 348. Right behind Lake County was Cook County. However, Cook County has more officers in their force. The statistics state that Cook County’s 487 officers made 306 arrests, which is an average of .63 arrests per officer.

AAIM determined that the Chicago Police Department, with roughly 12,000 officers, made approximately 3,400 DUI arrests. The rate of .28 arrests per officer pales in comparison to Lake County.

DUI fatalities in Illinois were down 38% from the last decade. However, the seemingly sharp decline in drunk driving may be due to the lack of arrests by some police departments. Although there is a decrease in DUI fatalities, drunk driving is still a major problem in the United States. One person was killed every 52 minutes due to DUI-related accidents in 2013 across the country.

As part of its DUI statute, Illinois has a provision that provides that any amount of cannabis or controlled substance in a driver’s system may be the basis for a DUI charge. This is the only part of Illinois DUI law that permits a charge of driving while under the influence – even if there is no evidence that the person was impaired or intoxicated.

The most commonly cited example of the law is the person who may have smoked marijuana days or weeks earlier and then is stopped for a minor moving violation or as a result of an accident. If the officer has any reason to believe that the person had smoked marijuana at some point, the officer may seek testing. Often the situation arises in the case of an accident where the person was injured, taken to a hospital and testing is conducted, revealing the presence of a by-product of marijuana, called a ‘metabolite’.

The most recent example of the absurdity of the law is the case of Scott Shirey. In December 2011, Mr. Shirey was driving with his two young twin sons in his car. While driving, he was broad-sided by another vehicle and one of his children was killed and his old child was severely injured.

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