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.
3. DUI while going the wrong way on a one way may be charged as a felony. A person who drives while under the influence while traveling the wrong way on a one-way street or road may be charged with the offense of Aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI is an offense which, at a minimum, is a Class 4 felony which carries a potential sentence of 1-3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and a fine of up to $25,000.00. This law became effective January 1, 2019.
4. Driving on Suspended/Revoked based on an unpaid civil penalty is now a petty offense. A person who drives with a revoked or suspended driver’s license and whose loss of driving privileges is based upon an unpaid civil penalty cannot be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, but can only be charged with a petty offense and a fine of $50.00 plus mandatory court costs. A Class A misdemeanor is any offense carrying up to a year in jail and $2,500.00 fine. A petty offense is subject to a fine only and carries no jail time. This law became effective January 1, 2019.