What is the Point System for Drivers in Illinois?
Unless you fight them, traffic tickets not only lead to fines. They also add points to your driving record. If you get a ticket in the Chicago area, contact a Chicago traffic defense attorney, and fight that ticket. If too many points go on your driving record, your license will be suspended.
How does the point system work for drivers in Illinois? How can you avoid having points added to your driving record, and how can you eventually get points off your record? When should you reach out to a Chicago traffic defense lawyer for help, and what will that lawyer do for you?
If you will continue reading this short discussion of the Illinois point system for drivers, you will learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn more about your rights as a driver in this state.
How Does the Point System Work?
Minor traffic infractions in Illinois – or any other state – can lead to major legal trouble. Convictions for minor moving violations put points on your driving record, and too many of those points will prompt a driver’s license suspension or a driver’s license revocation.
The number of points that a driver receives and how long those points stay on a driver’s record will hinge on the type and the severity of the moving violation.
For example, speeding less than ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit puts 5 points on a driver’s record, but having an open alcohol container in the passenger area of the vehicle puts 25 points on a driver’s record, and a conviction for reckless driving puts 55 points on that record.
What Prompts a Driver’s License Suspension?
For Illinois drivers 21 and older, three traffic convictions in a twelve-month period will trigger a driver’s license suspension, or in some cases, a license revocation. The length of the suspension period will depend on how many points a driver accumulates in a twelve-month period:
- A two-month suspension is imposed on drivers who accumulate 15 to 44 points.
- A three-month suspension is imposed on drivers who accumulate 45 to 74 points.
- A six-month suspension is imposed on drivers who accumulate 75 to 89 points.
- A nine-month suspension is imposed on drivers who accumulate 90 to 99 points.
- A twelve-month suspension is imposed on drivers who accumulate 100 to 109 points.
- A driver’s license revocation is imposed on drivers who accumulate over 109 points.
The Illinois point system is even harsher on drivers who are under the age of 21. For those drivers, fewer points are required in order for the state to impose a driver’s license suspension or revocation.
How Are Points Removed From Your Driving Record?
Along with points on your record, moving violations may be penalized with fines, court-ordered attendance at traffic safety school, and increases in your auto insurance rates. Paying a ticket – instead of fighting it with help from a Chicago traffic defense attorney – results in a conviction.
Most traffic convictions, and the points that will accompany those convictions, remain on your driving record in this state for a minimum of five years. After five years, if you keep your driving record clean, the state will begin to remove those convictions from your record.
If you are sentenced to and successfully complete court supervision, no conviction or points go on your record. Court supervision is a period of time when the court will watch your behavior. If you pay your fine, attend the classes, and stay out of legal trouble, you can avoid a conviction.
Depending on the details of a traffic ticket and the current status of your driving record, a Chicago traffic defense lawyer may negotiate with the prosecutor for court supervision or fight the ticket at trial.
How Are More Serious Traffic Offenses Handled?
Driving-related criminal convictions go on two different records in Illinois – your driving record and your criminal record – and those convictions may not be removed after five years. A reckless driving conviction in this state, for example, may remain on your driving record for eleven years.
And unless you have it expunged or sealed, a conviction for reckless driving will remain on your criminal record for life, while a conviction for aggravated reckless driving will remain on your criminal record for life and can never be sealed or expunged.
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois also remains on your record for life and may only be expunged by obtaining a pardon from the Office of the Governor.
However, many first-time offenders who are facing a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge will qualify for court supervision if there are no aggravating circumstances (like causing a collision, injury, or fatality or having a child as a passenger) attached to the DUI charge.
What is the Most Important Thing to Know About Traffic Tickets?
The most important thing to know about traffic tickets in Illinois is that you must resolve them. If you overlook it, forget it, or ignore it, a small ticket could eventually become a big problem. However, resolving a ticket the right way does not mean paying it; that’s pleading guilty.
The best strategy for resolving a traffic ticket is fighting that ticket with an attorney’s help and working to avoid a conviction. Every Illinois traffic ticket must be resolved, or your driver’s license will eventually be revoked or suspended.
How Will a Traffic Lawyer Assist You?
When you fight a traffic ticket in this state, do not even think about acting as your own lawyer. If you’re like most of us, you are not trained to interrogate a police officer in a court of law, particularly an officer who regularly testifies and who knows how to persuade judges and juries.
Interrogating witnesses and persuading judges and juries in traffic cases is best left to an attorney who has the experience and the specialized training to do it properly. Having the services and advice of an Illinois traffic ticket lawyer is always the most effective way to fight a traffic ticket.
Traffic attorneys frequently have traffic charges reduced or completely dismissed with no points or insurance premium hikes. Having the services of a traffic ticket attorney is the practical, effective way to fight a ticket and avoid a fine, points, or a license suspension or revocation.