Traffic tickets in Sangamon, Montgomery, Logan, Morgan, Macon, Macoupin and all of central Illinois.
Who hasn’t been pulled over for going a little fast on the interstate, been in an accident, or received a ticket for some other traffic violation? Whether on the way to work, headed home, or just passing through, most of us have received traffic citations at some point. Yet as common as they are, traffic tickets, even simple speeding tickets, can cause a lot of headaches, especially if you don’t live in the area, or if you have to miss work or find child care in order attend court. Thankfully, as experienced traffic lawyers, we can help.
One of the keys to dealing with traffic tickets is not to “phone it in.” It is true that frequently you can pay the fine on-line or by mail, but that’s usually not a good idea for several reasons. First, simply paying the ticket results in a conviction for that offense being entered on your driving record. Depending on a number of factors (including age, licensing state, license type, type and severity of offense, and prior record), that conviction may result in your license being suspended. For example, Illinois drivers 21 and over will be suspended if they are convicted of three or more moving violations in a 12-month period—but Illinois drivers under 21 will be suspended at just two convictions within a 24-month period. The length of the suspension, or possible revocation, are determined based on the number of points assigned to each conviction (more serious offenses carry more points), as well as whether the person has had any other suspensions within the last seven years.
A second reason to avoid convictions for traffic violations is the effect on your auto insurance rates. Insurance companies commonly review publicly-available driving records and use that information in setting the rate you pay for auto insurance. Convictions for most traffic offenses are reported to the Illinois Secretary of State. For Illinois-licensed drivers, those convictions are entered on the publicly-available Illinois driving record. For drivers licensed in other states, convictions are reported to the licensing state for entry on the driving record in that state. Thus, you should expect that any conviction for a traffic violation (with the exception of certain non-moving equipment offenses) may affect your insurance rates.
For most drivers and most offenses, a disposition of “court supervision” will avoid both of the above consequences. When a driver is placed on court supervision, he or she is ordered to pay a fine, remain offense-free for a period of time (generally one to three months for minor offenses), and, in some cases, complete a traffic safety course. Upon successful completion of the period of supervision, the case is considered dismissed without any judgment of conviction.
For Illinois-licensed drivers (other than CDL holders), the Secretary of State does not report supervision outcomes for most offenses on public driving records (meaning your insurance company won’t see it), and—although there are limited exceptions—supervision usually doesn’t lead to license suspension either. For out-of-state non-CDL drivers, supervision on minor offenses is not reported to the licensing state at all. As traffic attorneys, we routinely go to court and negotiate supervision outcomes on behalf of our clients. Sometimes we are instead able to get the ticket amended to a lesser charge, with or without supervision. And occasionally, we are even able to get the ticket dismissed immediately without a period of supervision.
CDL drivers may face even more serious consequences to their licenses and livelihood with as a result of moving violations. In addition, supervision is of little help to the CDL holder, as in order to comply with federal law, states cannot withhold or “mask” diversionary outcomes (like supervision) for CDL holders. Thus, for CDL holders, if we cannot get the ticket dismissed altogether, we endeavor to reach an agreement for a plea to a non-moving violation instead. We are generally able to reach these outcomes without our clients ever missing a day of work.
Regardless of the type of license you have, if you have been charged with a more serious driving offense—such as Aggravated Speeding (26 or more over), DUI, Driving while Suspended, Driving while Revoked, Leaving the Scene, Operating Uninsured, Passing a Stopped School Bus, Reckless Driving, Speeding in a Construction Zone or School Zone, or Street Racing, you may be facing special consequences for your driving privileges. In some cases, you may even be facing jail time. Many of these charges may involve special issues and defenses which can be identified by skilled and experienced traffic lawyers.
While many people facing traffic cases are simply seeking the best disposition possible without going to court, there are also times when it’s best to “fight” the case—and, if necessary, take it to trial. Police officers are human and certainly make their share of mistakes. You may have a situation in which the officer stopped the wrong car (i.e., you weren’t the one who was speeding). Perhaps an eyewitness to an incident misidentified you or your vehicle. Or you may even have an affirmative defense to the charge.
If you have a traffic matter in central Illinois—including Sangamon, Cass, Christian, Greene, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, and Pike Counties, among others, your best bet is to give our office a call. We offer free phone consultations for all offenses—and are happy to arrange a face-to-face meeting at our office in Springfield to discuss more serious charges. Both William Vig and Sara Vig have years of experience in handling traffic matters. Contact us to see how we can help you.