Chicago Speeding Attorneys
For a motorist who is traveling above the posted speed limit, flashing lights in the rearview mirror is not a welcome sight. At a bare minimum, a traffic stop for speeding will likely lead to a costly citation that will raise your insurance rates. As a result of recent changes to the law in Illinois, however, a stop for excessive speeding in Chicago could lead to criminal charges being filed against you. If you were recently charged with what is commonly referred to as “aggravated speeding” in Chicago, it is imperative that you understand the potential consequences for a conviction.
Illinois Traffic Law Basics
To understand the Chicago aggravated speeding law, it helps to first gain a better understanding of basic traffic law concepts. Most traffic violations are infractions, meaning they are punishable by a fine only. Traffic violations are typically separated into two categories — moving violations and non-moving violations. Failure to yield and speeding, for example, are moving violations while an expired registration or a broken tail light are non-moving violations. Although most moving violations are only punishable by the imposition of a fine, they also add “points” to your driving record. If you rack up enough points, your license can be suspended for a designated period of time, or even revoked. Moving violations can also cause your insurance rates to increase.
Speeding in Chicago
Although all motorists know that driving above the posted speed limit is a violation of the traffic laws, most people think of speeding as a relatively minor violation. It’s often viewed as something that “everyone else does too.” In reality, there is some truth to that viewpoint; however, recent changes to the law mean that an aggravated speeding ticket in Chicago could now result in a jail sentence. Consequently, excessive speeding is no longer just a minor violation.
Operating a motor vehicle up to 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit remains an infraction in Illinois, punishable by a fine. As of January 1, 2016, however, operating a motor vehicle 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit is now a misdemeanor offense in Illinois.
The Illinois Aggravated Speeding Law
In Illinois, Section 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes governs what is commonly referred to as “aggravated speeding” and reads as follows
- A person who drives a vehicle upon any highway of this State at a speed that is 26 miles per hour or more but less than 35 miles per hour in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit established under this Chapter or a local ordinance commits a Class B misdemeanor.
- A person who drives a vehicle upon any highway of this State at a speed that is 35 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit established under this Chapter or a local ordinance commits a Class A misdemeanor.
Penalties for Aggravated Speeding in Chicago
If you are charged with aggravated speeding in Chicago, it is imperative that you understand the potential penalties if convicted. If you are stopped for operating your vehicle 26 to 34 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. If you are stopped for going 35 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor which is the most serious misdemeanor offense. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition, if convicted of either a Class B or a Class A misdemeanor the judge could also order you to serve a period of time on probation. While on probation you would remain under the court’s supervision and would likely be required to report to a probation officer along with a variety of other conditions. Those conditions could include things such as maintaining employment, random drug and alcohol testing, and/or community service. Finally, you will also be required to pay any court costs as well as any fees associated with probation if convicted of either misdemeanor offense.
Keep in mind that a conviction for excessive speeding will also result in several significant non-judicial penalties as well. Arguably the most damaging of those non-judicial penalties is a criminal record. If you have never before been convicted of a criminal offense, being charged with aggravated speeding should be taken very seriously because a conviction could mean you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. A conviction of aggravated driving may also increase the likelihood of your driver’s license being suspended and will almost certainly raise your car insurance rates.
Court Supervision for Aggravated Speeding
One alternative to a conviction for aggravated speeding is known as “Court Supervision.” If you are sentenced to Court Supervision, the court will not enter a conviction. Instead, the case will be continued for a period of time (usually one year) during which time you will be required to abide by all conditions imposed by the court. Conditions may include things such as successful completion of traffic school, paying an additional fine, and/or completing a designated number of hours of community service as well as not committing any additional traffic or criminal offenses. If you successfully complete the period of supervision, the charges against you are dismissed, meaning you will not have a criminal conviction on your permanent record. If you fail to complete the conditions of Court Supervision, however, you will end up with a conviction and the judge will sentence you accordingly.
You are not eligible for Court Supervision if you have a previous conviction for aggravated speeding or you were sentenced to Court Supervision in the past for aggravated speeding. You are also ineligible for Court Supervision if you were charged with aggravated speeding in a highway-construction zone, school zone, or in an urban district.
Are There Defenses to a Charge of Excessive Speeding?
One of the biggest mistakes that motorists commonly make is assuming that a conviction for aggravated driving is a foregone conclusion when, in fact, it is not. One of the first options we typically explore is the likelihood of getting the charge reduced by amending it to a lesser offense such as speeding as an infraction. Numerous factors will go into how likely the prosecutor is to agree to reduce the charge, including how fast you were going, your driving record, and any special circumstances that make the offense more or less serious than the average aggravated speeding case. If reducing the charge isn’t an option, we may have a viable defense that makes taking the case to trial worth the risk. The important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t know what your options are until you sit down and speak to an experienced traffic attorney.
Contact a Chicago Traffic Attorney Today
If you were recently issued an aggravated speeding ticket or were arrested and charged with aggravated speeding in Chicago, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced traffic attorney as soon as possible. Contact the experienced Chicago traffic attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today by calling 800-996-4824 or by filling out our online contact form.