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Illinois Teen Driver’s License Laws & Traffic Ticket Penalties

The Illinois laws governing teen driver’s licenses and traffic tickets can be confusing for teens and parents alike. The Illinois Secretary of State operates a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program for teen drivers. Different laws apply depending on the age of the driver. Below is a breakdown of the current laws that apply to teens drivers in Illinois and the consequences of traffic tickets.

Rules for Drivers Age 15 (Instruction Permit Stage)

During the instruction permit stage the teen driver:

  • Must be supervised by an adult 21 or older who holds a valid driver’s license at all times.
  • Must not receive any traffic ticket convictions.
  • Have no more than one person in the front seat and no more passengers than the number of safety belts in the back seat.
  • Must wear a seatbelt along with all passengers.
  • Must obey nighttime driving restrictions. The teen driver is prohibited from driving Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. and Friday through Saturday between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M.
  • Must obey the local curfew law.
  • Must not use a cell phone, including hands-free, while driving except in cases of emergency.

A first conviction for a violation of the restrictions imposed on an instruction permit will result in a 2-month license suspension. Persons under the age of 18 including who are caught driving without a permit will not be granted a driver’s license until age 18. 

Rules for Drivers Ages 16-17 (Initial Licensing Stage)

During the initial licensing stage, the teen driver:

  • Must not receive any traffic ticket convictions for 6 months prior to his or her 18th birthday.
  • Must have no more than one passenger under the age of 20 unless the passenger is a sibling or child of the driver (this rule applies for the first 12 months that teen holds a license or until age 18 – whichever occurs first).
  • Must obey nighttime driving restrictions. The teen driver is prohibited from driving Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. and Friday through Saturday between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M.
  • Must obey the local curfew law.
  • Must not use a cell phone use, including hands-free, while driving except in cases of emergency.

A first conviction for a violation of the restrictions imposed on their driver’s license will result in a 2-month license suspension.

Traffic Ticket Rules for all Drivers Under the Age of 18

In order to request court supervision for a traffic ticket and avoid a conviction, the teen must appear in court with a parent or guardian and may be represented by an attorney. If the court agrees to a sentence of court supervision, the teen is required to complete traffic safety school.

Court supervision may only be granted once for a serious traffic violation. If convicted of a serious traffic violation, the teen must wait 9 months from the date of the violation before being granted a driver’s license. Serious traffic violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Illegal transportation or possession of alcohol within a vehicle
  • Driving without a valid license or permit
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Aggravated speeding 26 mph or more over the limit
  • Reckless Driving
  • Failure to yield right of way to a pedestrian
  • Failure to yield at a railroad crossing
  • Passing in a no-passing zone

Traffic Ticket Suspension for all Drivers Under the Age of 21

All drivers under the age of 21 will have their driver’s license suspended for any two moving violation convictions within a 24 month period. All moving violation are counted toward a suspension, not just serious traffic violations. More information on traffic ticket points and the length of license suspensions can be found on our previous post. A conviction for a single traffic ticket will result in a warning letter to the teen and their parents.

Traffic Ticket Defense Attorneys

The traffic attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. regularly assist teen drivers and their families after receiving a traffic ticket or a driver’s license suspension. The Illinois Secretary of State holds teen drivers to a high standard through their GDL program. Navigating the system properly is essential at this early stage to avoid a driver’s license suspension, insurance increases and high fines.

Our traffic ticket attorneys are happy to provide a free initial consultation. Our defense lawyers primarily handle traffic tickets throughout the Chicago Area including Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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