In the state of Illinois, it is considered a privilege to be permitted to operate a vehicle on public streets and highways. Driving is not considered to be a right. Revoking a right is extremely difficult and generally involves serious circumstances, such as the revocation of a person’s right to bear arms after that person has been convicted of a violent felony. Revoking a privilege is much easier.
The privilege of driving is one that can be revoked in Illinois for a variety of reasons including being convicted of violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code. You could lose your ability to drive for a single serious infraction or for a cumulative number of lesser convictions in a short period of time. If you have a recently received a traffic ticket, it is important to understand how an attorney could help you.
Traffic Violations are Expensive
Most traffic violations are punishable by a fine determined by the state. However, there are usually additional fees that go along with a violation, not to mention a potential increase in auto insurance premiums triggered by the violation as well. All told, the average driver in Illinois who receives a ticket will pay about 6.2 times more than the fine itself. For example, if the fine for a particular offense is $100, it will cost a convicted driver about $620 including additional fees and costs.
Options for Handling a Ticket
When you are pulled over and given a ticket for violating a traffic law, you have three available options. You have the option of:
- Pleading guilty, paying the fine, and accepting the conviction;
- Paying the fine and requesting court supervision. If court supervision is granted, you will likely be required to attend traffic school and avoid getting another ticket within a set period; or
- Pleading not guilty and appearing at your court hearing. A traffic violation court hearing is effectively a bench trial before a local magistrate or judge.
At first glance, you might be inclined to simply pay the fine, plead guilty, and move on with your life. However, that might not always be best choice. If you qualify for supervision, you could avoid having the violation applied to your record, presuming you complete the program as ordered.
This could be important because three traffic convictions within 12 months will lead to a suspension of your driving privileges for up to six months. The actual duration of the suspension will depend on the nature of the offenses for which you were cited. If you are under the age of 21 and you receive just 2 traffic convictions in a 24 month period, you would be subject to a suspension as well.
By working with an attorney, you could potentially avoid such problems. Your attorney will review your driving record, as well as your available options. Along with your lawyer, you can decide whether to request court supervision or to fight the ticket outright. Your lawyer will also help you build a case designed to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.
Call a Joliet Traffic Violations Lawyer
If you are facing the possible suspension of your driving privileges due to traffic violations, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.