Sign and Drive: Get a Ticket, Keep Your License
You are probably aware that if you receive too many traffic citations , your driving privileges can be suspended. It is likely of little surprise, as state authorities have a vested interest in keeping the roads of Illinois as safe as possible. Prior to 2015, however, you could also have your driver’s license confiscated as bail by a police officer after a single traffic violation. While, in theory, the practice was meant to ensure a driver’s compliance in responding to the citation, in reality, doing so created an unreasonable amount of inconvenience. In late 2014, legislation was passed by state lawmakers to end the confiscation of driver’s licenses for traffic offenses, instead relying on the assurance of the driver to respond appropriately to the ticket and securing the promise with a signature.
For years, traffic laws in Illinois permitted an officer issuing a citation to take the driver’s license of the alleged offending driver as a form of bail or security. Upon responding to the citation by paying the fine, appearing in court, or replacing the license with cash bail, the license would ultimately be returned to the driver. The individual’s driving privileges were not affected in any way; if needed, a driver could present a copy of the citation in lieu of a license.
While a copy of the ticket may have served the purposes of law enforcement well enough, leaving a person without a valid form of photo identification made life unnecessarily difficult. In today’s world, a driver’s license is used as identification for countless applications, including cashing a check, boarding an airplane, or purchasing alcohol.
Responsibilities of Sign and Drive
On August 9, 2014, then- Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure to stop the use of driver’s license as bail for traffic violations. Taking effect on January 1, 2015, the legislation completely changed the law’s approach to such offenses. Now, if you are issued a citation, you are required to sign the ticket to verify that you understand the offense with which you have been charged. Your signature is not a plea; it is a promise to respond to the citation be pleading guilty and paying your fine, or pleading not guilty and appearing in court to argue your case. If you fail to do either, your license and driving privileges will be suspended until your citation is fully resolved.
If you have been charged with a traffic violation and had your license confiscated as bail despite the new law, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney today. At our law firm, we are committed to helping you protect your rights and will fight to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.