If you’re given a traffic ticket in or near the Chicago area, get in touch with a Chicago traffic lawyer at once to help you fight the ticket. An attorney will work to help you avoid a fine, but more importantly, an attorney will work to help you avoid getting points on your driving record.
A ticket may not seem serious, but if you’re convicted of a moving violation in Illinois, you receive points on your driving record, and if you compile too many, your license is suspended. How does the point system work? How many points does it take before you lose your license?
Keep reading this brief discussion of the point system and your rights in Illinois for answers to these questions, but if you’re given a ticket for a moving violation, you will also need the advice and services that a Chicago traffic ticket attorney offers.
What Points Are Assigned to Moving Violations?
Convictions for moving violations in Illinois place points on your driving record. The number of penalty points and the length of time those points remain on your driving record depends on the seriousness of the violation. Here is a short list of examples; the full list is far more extensive:
- speeding up to ten miles per hour over the limit – 5 points
- speeding more than twenty-five miles per hour over the limit – 50 points
- speeding in a construction zone or a school zone – 20 points
- driving through a red traffic light – 20 points
- driving with an open alcohol container in the passenger area – 25 points
- failing to stop after striking an unattended parked vehicle – 15 points
- failing to stop after an accident with one or more injuries – 50 points
- reckless driving – 55 points
How Does the Point System Work?
If an Illinois motorist who is 21 or older is given three tickets that lead to convictions in a 12-month period, the total number of points determines how long that motorist’s license will be suspended (or if the license will be revoked):
- 15 to 44 points result in a 2-month driver’s license suspension
- 45 to 74 points result in a 3-month driver’s license suspension
- 75 to 89 points result in a 6-month driver’s license suspension
- 90 to 99 points result in a 9-month driver’s license suspension
- 100 to 109 points result in a 12-month driver’s license suspension
If a motorist who is 21 or older compiles 110 or more points within a 12-month period, that motorist’s license will be revoked.
How Does the Point System Apply to Younger Drivers?
If a motorist under age 21 receives two tickets that lead to convictions in a 24-month period, that motorist’s license will be suspended or revoked:
10 to 34 points result in a 1-month driver’s license suspension
35 to 49 points result in a 3-month driver’s license suspension
50 to 64 points result in a 6-month driver’s license suspension
65 to 79 points result in a 12-month driver’s license suspension
If a motorist who is under age 21 compiles 80 or more points within a 24-month period, that motorist’s license will be revoked.
How Do License Suspensions Differ From License Revocations?
A driver’s license suspension is a temporary loss of your driving privilege for a specific time period. The license is automatically reinstated at the end of that time period, provided that the motorist pays the required reinstatement fee.
Revocations are different. Even at the end of the revocation period, there is no automatic license reinstatement. Instead, the motorist becomes “qualified” for reinstatement and may not drive until a successful hearing has been conducted by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
What Does a License Reinstatement Hearing Entail?
After the hearing concludes, the reinstatement of the license will be either granted or denied. There are two types of reinstatement hearings: formal and informal. At an informal reinstatement hearing, a hearing officer meets with the driver and with his or her Chicago traffic lawyer.
At the hearing’s conclusion, the hearing officer makes a recommendation that is reviewed by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office before a final decision is made. A formal hearing is required if:
- The driver has more than one license suspension or revocation based on more than one DUI conviction.
- The driver’s license revocation is based on a driving incident that involved a fatality.
- The driver seeks to modify or rescind a driver’s license revocation order or suspension order.
- The driver is submitting an out-of-state application for a driver’s license reinstatement.
- The driver’s monitored device driving permit has been canceled, and the driver is now seeking a restricted driving permit.
The rules for a license reinstatement are complicated, and many applications are denied. You’ll need to consult a Chicago traffic ticket attorney prior to seeking reinstatement, and that attorney will need to accompany you at your reinstatement hearing.
What Else Should You Know About Reinstating a Revoked License?
Informal hearings are held at many Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle offices, but formal hearings are held only at the Illinois Secretary of State offices in Chicago, Springfield, Joliet, and Mount Vernon.
Ask your attorney to request a reinstatement hearing on your behalf. Your request must include a $50 filing fee.
Formal license reinstatement hearings are comparable to trials. A prosecutor, as well as a hearing officer, meet with the driver and his or her attorney. The hearing officer, the prosecutor, and the driver’s own attorney have an opportunity to examine and cross-examine the driver.
At a formal license reinstatement hearing, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you are a risk as a driver; instead, you and your attorney have to prove that you are not a risk.
When Should You Contact an Illinois Traffic Ticket Lawyer?
A conviction for a moving violation usually remains on your Illinois driving record for five years. The best way to avoid losing your privilege to drive in Illinois is to avoid traffic tickets and convictions for traffic tickets – before you start accumulating points on your driving record.
Along with points toward a license suspension, convictions for moving violations can result in high fines, court-ordered completion of a safe driving course, and higher auto insurance rates.
If you receive a ticket for a moving violation in or near the Chicago area, or if your license has been revoked and you are seeking to have the license reinstated, get the legal help that you need and contact a traffic ticket attorney in Chicago as quickly as possible.
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