Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers
The Ultimate Guide to Aggravated Speeding
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If you’re ticketed in Illinois for driving more than 25 mph over the limit, you’re charged with Aggravated Speeding. It is a criminal offense in Illinois with serious consequences.
The lawyers at Driver Defense Team have put together this comprehensive guide to answer your questions on this subject. The information contained here is based on the lawyers’ first-hand knowledge and experience after defending thousands of speeding tickets in the Chicagoland area.
If you have any further questions about this guide – or if you wish to speak directly with a lawyer about your case – do not hesitate to contact us.
Table of Contents
- When You Are Stopped By Police For Aggravated Speeding
- Going To Court And The Role Of Your Lawyer
- Working With Your Lawyer
- Understanding How Your Case Is Handled And What Goes On In Court
- Pleading Guilty
- Consequences And Penalties Of An Aggravated Speeding Conviction
- Special Situations And The Effect Of Aggravated Speeding
Anyone who receives a speeding ticket in Illinois needs to know how many miles per hour over the speed limit the police officer wrote on the ticket. This is because there are two major tiers of speeding tickets in Illinois.
When is a speeding ticket a misdemeanor?
The less serious speeding charge is a “petty ticket” for going 25 mph or less over the speed limit. The second type of citation is for 26 mph or more over the limit, which is called “aggravated speeding.” This is a much more serious ticket and the one this guide and the questions that follow will focus on.
When You Are Stopped By Police For Aggravated Speeding
What is aggravated speeding?
For many people, the first time they hear the term “aggravated speeding” is when they are charged with it. Basically, it is a speeding ticket received when the alleged speed is 26 mph or more over the limit. Many people also refer to this as:
- Criminal speeding
- Misdemeanor speeding
- Excessive speeding
These terms all mean the same thing. Prosecutors and judges in the Chicago area usually refer to it as “aggravated speeding” or “agg speeding” so those are the terms we will use here.
Driver Defense Team has defended a countless number of drivers charged with aggravated speeding, and this guide is intended to provide Illinois drivers with the most accurate and up-to-date answers to their questions.
How long has it been a violation in Illinois?
Illinois law on aggravated speeding has changed quite a bit in recent years. Every few years the Illinois legislator makes changes to the speed that qualifies as aggravated speeding or the penalties associated with it.
On January 1, 2014, the law was changed to set the cutoffs of 26 mph over the limit as a Class B misdemeanor and 35 mph over the limit as a Class A misdemeanor. Those cutoffs remain in effect today. Many lawyer websites and even the lawyers themselves still use numbers under the old law.
Fortunately, the law was revised again in January 1, 2016 to allow court supervision for drivers charged with aggravated speeding.
As you can see, the aggravated speeding laws change frequently, so be sure to consult with traffic lawyers that defend these cases frequently and stay up to date on the subject.
What are the penalties for aggravated speeding?
The maximum penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor is up to 354 days in county jail and a $2,500 fine plus court costs. (625 ILCS 5/11 601.5(b))
The maximum penalty for a Class B Misdemeanor is up to 180 days in county jail and a $1,500 fine plus court costs. (625 ILCS 5/11 601.5(a))
In reality, drivers rarely serve any jail time for aggravated speeding. That is not to say it couldn’t happen, it just doesn’t happen often.
Is it a felony to speed in Illinois?
No. There is no such thing as a felony speeding ticket in Illinois. The most serious type of speeding ticket in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor. This is for speeding 35 mph or more above the speed limit. The maximum penalty for this is 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.
While speeding is never a felony, there are other driving violations that can result in felony charges, such as fleeing and eluding or hit and run, especially if it causes a serious injury or death.
Will I go to jail?
The statute states that you could receive jail time for aggravated speeding. This is a fact. Many lawyers use this to scare prospective clients into hiring them. Some lawyers think that a scared client will pay more money.
At Driver Defense Team, we believe that an informed client is a good client.
We tell you the truth right upfront:
It is unlikely that a driver will go to jail for aggravated speeding.
While it is technically possible, it rarely happens. If it is the first time a driver has been charged with aggravated speeding and there are no extraordinary circumstances, the chance of jail time is almost zero. However, the stakes are higher if the driver has been convicted of aggravated speeding in the past or if there are additional circumstances such as an accident, drugs or alcohol, or other reckless driving involved, it is quite possible to receive time in jail.
This does not mean that aggravated speeding should be taken lightly. Everyone charged with aggravated speeding faces high fines, higher insurance premiums, damage to their driving record and a criminal record.
In every scenario, the drivers’ personal interests and freedom are better protected with an experienced traffic lawyer representing them.
How common is aggravated speeding?
There are 200 to 300 tickets issued each week in Cook County for aggravated speeding. (Source: Circuit Clerk data). The majority of the tickets are written by the Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff, which makes sense because they patrol the highways. However, all police officers have the ability to write these tickets.
How do police officers feel about aggravated speeding?
Of course, every officer is different and so are the ways each officer views aggravated speeding. There are some officers who see aggravated speeding as just a normal, albeit more expensive, speeding ticket. However, there are other officers who, for whatever reason, take aggravated speeding much more seriously. We have seen officers arrest drivers simply for speeding. Usually, there is an aggravating factor that causes them to do this but not always.
Aggravated speeding has been in the news more frequently lately. It seems there is a local article each week about a teen involved in a high-speed crash or someone caught driving a high-powered sports car at a triple-digit speed.
This news causes officers, prosecutors and judges to view aggravated speeding more seriously. They do not want to be in the news because they let someone off only to have them cause an accident with serious injuries or death due to excessive speed.
Must the police officer allow me to see the radar or lidar reading?
When an officer states he used a radar or lidar gun to calculate your speed, it is very tempting to ask them for proof. We have seen some officers happy to show you. Others take it as an insult. Depending on your officer and their mood, you may be doing more harm than good by asking for this proof. Plus, if the officer does give you proof, you’ve just limited your defenses in court. For this reason, we generally do not recommend requesting proof from the officer.
One thing is certain, the officer is not required to show you the reading or provide a print-out. What really matters is the officer’s testimony in court.
Can I be arrested for aggravated speeding?
If you are stopped by an officer for driving 26 mph or more over the speed limit, you can be arrested. This is because it is a criminal offense. However, in reality, that rarely ever happens. The vast majority of the time the officer will write you a citation, probably take your driver’s license as a bond and let you be on your way.
But when you handle as many aggravated speeding cases as we do, you hear some crazy stories. Arrests for aggravated speeding do happen. Most of the time, it’s because there are additional circumstances such as an extreme rate of speed, weaving through traffic and endangering others, or failing to stop for the police officer.
If a driver is arrested for aggravated speeding, they will be processed at the police station and released after posting a bond. The bond is usually an i-bond which means that no money is required to be posted. The bond can also be set where a couple of hundred dollars are required for the driver to be released.
If arrested, do I have to post a bond?
The purpose of a bond is to ensure that you show up in court. Aggravated speeding is a criminal offense and the driver is required to appear in court. Therefore, a bond will be required.
In most cases, the police officer will take the driver’s license as the bond. Upon completion of the case, the driver’s license will be returned to the driver. Sometimes, the police officer will not take the driver’s license and will instead have the driver sign the ticket. This is not an admission of guilt but is instead your signed agreement that you will appear in court.
Other times, you may be required to post a cash bond. This is especially true if the driver was arrested or temporarily taken into custody by the police. The county clerk will keep a fee of approximately 10% of the bond. The remainder will be returned to the driver upon completion of the case or applied to court fees.
Going To Court And The Role Of Your Lawyer
Should I go to court by myself for aggravated speeding?
Many people go to court and think they can handle an aggravated speeding case themselves. Almost every single time, the judge or prosecutor tells them to come back next month with a lawyer.
Even if drivers are allowed to represent themselves, their options are very limited. The judge typically asks the driver, “How do you plead – guilty or not guilty?” The driver is not always given an opportunity to explain his or her side of the story unless the individual pleads not guilty.
If you plead guilty, you are now at the mercy of the court. The prosecutor will read the driver’s background to the judge for sentencing. The judge will then issue a sentence.
If you answer “not guilty,” the case will be set for trial. At trial, the officer will testify. You will need to cross-examine the officer. You will only be able to tell your story if you testify under oath. Keep in mind, if you testify in court, the prosecutor has the right to cross-examine you to try to trip you up and gain support for a finding of guilty. When a private citizen conducts a trial, they are held to the same rules and procedures as lawyers.
Do I need a lawyer?
Aggravated speeding is a criminal offense. The potential sentence includes time in jail. Since your freedom is potentially at risk, it is strongly recommended that you have an attorney defend you. In fact, most judges will require you to have an attorney.
What will happen to me?
Nearly every client asks: “What will happen to me?” We can never guarantee the outcome of a case. That would be irresponsible and unethical of us. Truthfully, we do not know what the outcome will be. It is impossible to know because the prosecutors, police officers, and judges all play a role in determining the outcome.
However, our firm defends thousands of traffic tickets each year. We use that experience to assess your case. We are always happy to provide a free consultation, discuss possible outcomes, and quote you a flat-fee to defend your case.
Working With Your Lawyer
Do I need to meet my lawyer in person before court?
We are always happy to meet with our clients or potential clients for a free consultation. We have offices in Chicago and the near west suburbs. However, unless you would feel more comfortable, it is not necessary that you meet with your attorney before court.
For most misdemeanor criminal cases, a police officer must complete a written report. For an aggravated speeding case, the citation is the report. The driver is given a copy of the citation. So, our office will want to see a copy of your ticket, if possible.
In many aggravated speeding cases, the ticket is the only written evidence available. The prosecutor will usually not see your ticket until the first court date.
What type of lawyer should I hire for aggravated speeding?
Any lawyer can appear in court for an aggravated speeding ticket. But few lawyers are truly equipped to defend an aggravated speeding case.
There are many important factors that go into properly defending an aggravated speeding case. Frequently, the prosecutor plays a large role in determining the outcome of the case. This is why it is important to hire a lawyer who is in the courthouse handling these types of cases on a daily basis.
What are some typical questions I should ask my lawyer?
A traffic lawyer needs to have many options and strategies available. The more options, the better the possible outcome for the driver. Lawyers have more options if they have experience in that particular courtroom. Therefore, you’ll want to ask your traffic lawyer the following questions:
- Have you defended aggravated speeding tickets in the past?
- How often do you practice in this courthouse?
- Do you think my ticket can be amended down?
- How do you go about requesting that it be amended down?
- Do you think I will be eligible for supervision?
- Have you taken an aggravated speeding case to trial?
- Will you charge extra if additional court appearances are required?
There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. All attorneys have different experiences and caseloads. Plus, no attorney can predict the outcome of a case. However, an experienced traffic attorney should be able to quickly and easily answer these questions. They should be able to discuss your case, possible strategies and potential outcomes. The answers to these questions should make you feel confident that you are hiring an experienced professional.
Understanding How Your Case Is Handled And What Goes On In Court
How many times do you go to court for aggravated speeding?
The number of court dates required to resolve an aggravated speeding case varies. Sometimes, it can be resolved in just one court date. In most cases, additional court dates are needed in order to submit mitigation, prepare for trial, or in some cases, clean up the driver’s record.
Frequently, in exchange for a reduced charge, the driver will be required to complete community service or driving school. The driver will be required to return to court on a later date to prove these requirements were completed.
The traffic attorney’s goal is to obtain the most favorable outcome for our client.
What does it mean when I hear the state has the burden of proving that I am guilty of aggravated speeding?
When it comes to proving that the driver is guilty of aggravated speeding, the burden is on the prosecution. The good news is that it is a high burden of proof. The prosecutor must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
The bad news is that it is frequently the police officer’s word against the word of the driver. There are usually no other witnesses available to give testimony. The prosecution’s job becomes easier if the officer testifies that he used a radar or LIDAR device to clock the driver’s speed.
The other bad news is that the risk can be high. A conviction for aggravated speeding results in a criminal record, fines, court costs, a negative driving record, and possibly increased insurance. Depending on your prior driving history, an aggravated speeding conviction can cause your driver’s license to be suspended.
For these reasons, it is usually preferable to reduce the risk, eliminate the unknown, and work it out in a way that is most favorable to the driver. However, the prosecutors and our clients know that we are ready to take a case to trial when necessary and win.
At trial, an officer may discuss his or her training and experience using the speed-tracking device. They may then testify about the following points:
- The device was properly used.
- It determined the speed the driver’s vehicle was traveling.
- The officer properly memorialized the indicated speed on the ticket.
Depending on the officer, this is powerful testimony that can be very persuasive to a judge.
Are there any defenses to aggravated speeding?
Yes, there are defenses to aggravated speeding. However, clients often state excuses that they think are legal defenses. Common ones are:
- “I was going with the flow of traffic.” This is not a legal defense. There is not a prosecutor in the state that will dismiss the ticket because of this excuse. And no judge will say “not guilty” because of this.
- “Another car was going faster.” Again, this is not a legal defense. The only question is whether or not you were traveling over the speed limit. The other vehicles do not matter.
- “It’s just a speeding ticket.” It’s true that it is a speeding ticket, but the law changed and the state now takes these tickets much more seriously. There are many judges that make a point of telling all drivers charged with aggravated speeding that they can go to jail.
These statements may be true, but they will not get a driver out of an aggravated speeding charge.
When we represent a client, we run their ticket through our 25-point inspection to see if any of the possible defenses or legal maneuvers apply to this situation. This ensures that no stone is left unturned. Some of those legal defenses are:
You’d be surprised at how often officers make mistakes on tickets. We’ve seen wrong names, wrong vehicles, wrong dates, wrong speed limits, etc. Just because a ticket has an error does not mean it will be dismissed. In fact, a judge can allow an officer to fix his error right there in court.
But an error – especially a significant one – allows us to question the officer’s credibility. If he made this error, what other errors did he make? And if the errors goes directly to the heart of the matter, such as who was driving or what the actual speed ones, that can be a very strong argument at trial.
Thankfully, our firm has implemented a system for identifying errors on tickets. That just might make the difference in your case.
Pacing is a common way for an officer to identify the driver’s speed. It must be done perfectly for it to be a reliable method. We have had success cross-examining officers as to exactly how they paced and determined our client’s speed. If we can show the judge that the method was unreliable, it is possible to obtain a Not Guilty verdict or get a reduced charge.
Challenge The Radar
An officer usually determines the driver’s speed using a radar or lidar gun. At trial, the officer must testify as to the calibration and use of that machine. It is a highly technical device that requires proper use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If we can show that this was not followed properly, the speed can be thrown out, which can result in a verdict of Not Guilty.
There are other defenses that may be raised such as the officer identifying the wrong car or the officer using radar within 500 feet of the speed limit sign. However, these are less common.
More often than not, we are not in a position to go to trial on an aggravated speeding charge. Instead, we attempt to obtain the best outcome possible by using are some of these strategies:
Prosecutors and judges handle hundreds of aggravated speeding tickets each month. Sometimes we want our clients to fly under the radar. Other times, we choose to make our clients stand out from the crowd. Since prosecutors and judges handle so many cases, it can often be helpful to humanize and personalize our client.
Often we find it beneficial to present mitigation to the prosecutor on behalf of our clients. This can include letters written by friends, family, co-workers or others in the community. These letters are written on behalf of the defendant to provide a glimpse into our client’s good character.
We also include a letter from our law firm to the prosecutor or the prosecutor’s supervisor. In the letter, we make a request for a reduced charge, supervision or another favorable outcome for our client.
Most of the time, an aggravated speeding ticket can be resolved without the need to submit mitigation. However, a good attorney knows when to tip the odds in our favor by highlighting the client’s excellent background, unique circumstances and previous good deeds.
Prosecutors have access to the driver’s background. They will see the official record with the Secretary of State and they will see if the driver has any criminal history.
The driving record plays a major role in determining the outcome of the case. If a driver has a clean background, they are more likely to receive a better offer from the prosecutor. A bad driving background may result in a less favorable offer from the prosecutor.
If necessary, Driver Defense Team will work to correct errors on the driver’s record. There have been numerous occasions where we have identified an error then worked with the driver to get it corrected. After it was fixed, we went back to the prosecutor and obtained a better result for the client. We believe this extra effort sets our law firm apart from the others.
Aggravated speeding is a criminal offense. Therefore, the driver’s criminal background is a factor prosecutors take into consideration in the offers they make. A driver with a criminal record can – and often does – receive a less favorable offer from a prosecutor than a driver with no background. This is just a fact of life.
A driver in this position will greatly benefit by receiving representation from a skilled traffic attorney who practices in that courthouse regularly and has a reputation as a tenacious and aggressive attorney ready and willing to take a case to trial. The attorneys at Driver Defense Team are exactly this and are some of the best in the business.
What if the officer is not in court?
Many, many Illinois drivers believe their cases will be dismissed the police officer does not show up to court. This is a wrong assumption when the charge is as serious as aggravated speeding.
While it is possible for this to happen in some counties with petty traffic tickets, it far less likely to happen with aggravated speeding. Remember, aggravated speeding is a criminal offense.
Criminal cases are not typically dismissed on the first court date due to an absent police officer. The judge will almost always grant the prosecutor a continuance to come back again on a later date with the officer. In fact, in many counties, the officer is not even required to be in court on the first court date.
With that said, a skilled traffic attorney has ways of tipping the scale in the client’s favor if an officer does not appear.
What does it mean to plea bargain for an amended charge?
Prosecutors often have the ability to amend your speeding ticket down to a lower speed. This can very beneficial to the driver. For example, if you are charged with driving 36 mph over the limit (Class A Misdemeanor) the prosecutor may amend it to state that you were driving 34 mph over the limit (Class B Misdemeanor).
Or a prosecutor might amend it from 26 mph over the limit (Class B Misdemeanor) to 25 mph over the limit, which is a petty speeding ticket – not aggravated speeding.
As you can see, this is often a desirable outcome. However, this is something that your traffic defense attorney may negotiate on your behalf.
Can’t I just plead guilty to aggravated speeding and mail in my payment?
The answer is “no.” That is not even an option. Aggravated speeding is a criminal offense. Just like a DUI or battery charge, the defendant is required to appear in court.
If a driver is going to be out of town or otherwise unable to attend court, they should immediately notify their attorney. We can often determine a workaround or other solution to this problem.
If you simply miss your court date and don’t have an attorney, you are likely to receive an automatic conviction. Also, a warrant for your arrest can be issued.
Will a conviction be on my record?
The answer to this question depends on what is meant by “it” and what “record” we’re talking about. So to best answer this question, it is important to first understand the life of a traffic ticket.
When a driver receives a traffic ticket from a police officer, the officer must then submit it to the station. The station then submits the ticket to the clerk in the county in which it was issued.
The Clerk of the Circuit Court in that county then enters the ticket information into their computer system. In Cook County, this can take several weeks or even more than a month. In other counties, it usually takes less than two weeks.
Once the ticket is in the county computer system, it is typically accessible to anyone who knows how to properly search the Circuit Court Clerk’s website. In other words, there is a record of it. And that record is technically accessible to anyone.
In can be important to know that Cook County does not make much information publicly available on their website. There is some basic ticket information, but it can be difficult to find by someone who is not familiar with it. However, all traffic and criminal records can be accessed by the general public from within the Cook County courthouses. In all other Chicago collar counties (Lake, McHenry, Dupage, Kane, and Will counties) this information is accessible online to anyone who knows how to properly search the Circuit Court Clerk’s website.
At this point, it is just a pending ticket. The driver remains innocent until proven guilty. When the ticket is resolved, the county will update their system with that information. We call this a “disposition.” The disposition will remain in the clerk’s record system indefinitely. If the ticket was dismissed, it will show as dismissed. If the driver was found guilty, it will show as a conviction.
Additionally, the Illinois Secretary of State maintains a driving record for all Illinois drivers. This is called a driving abstract. This abstract is not publicly available. However, employers, insurance companies and others often receive permission from drivers to access the driving abstract.
When a ticket is resolved, the disposition is sent to the Illinois Secretary of State. If the driver holds an Illinois driver’s license, the Secretary of State will update the driver’s official record to reflect how the ticket was resolved. If the driver does not hold an Illinois driver’s license, the Illinois Secretary of State will create and maintain a file for the driver. It is also likely that they will notify the driver’s home state of the ticket and its disposition.
Additionally, aggravated speeding is a criminal offense. This means that a conviction will also result in a criminal record.
How long is a speeding ticket on your record in Illinois?
Aggravated speeding is a moving violation. Convictions for moving violations stay on your Illinois Secretary of State driver’s record for at least four years from the date of conviction. We often see that they are on there for much longer than that.
If the aggravated speeding ticket causes your license to be suspended or revoked, this information will remain on your Illinois driving abstract for a much longer period of time. It will be on there for at least seven years from the date that your license gets reinstated, which may be months or years later.
If you have additional offenses that are drug or alcohol-related in addition to aggravated speeding, it may stay on your record for a lifetime.
If I plead guilty, what will happen next?
Pleading guilty sounds like a very bad thing. And sometimes it can be. You should never plead guilty without exhausting all available options. An experienced traffic defense lawyer will have exhausted all options before reaching this point.
However, you’re also required to “plead guilty” when receiving a sentence of court supervision for aggravated speeding. Depending on your circumstances, this may be a very good thing. For example, after providing mitigation and negotiating with the prosecutor, your attorney might have convinced the prosecutor to suggest a sentence of court supervision for you (see more on court supervision above). Depending on your circumstances and the facts of the case, this might be an excellent result for you.
Is there a formal process for pleading guilty?
When someone pleads guilty to aggravated speeding, they are pleading guilty to a criminal misdemeanor. It is not often that our clients plead guilty to aggravated speeding.
However, sometimes clients do plead guilty. When that happens, the judge asks several questions to ensure that the client understands the consequences of a guilty plea, including:
- Do you understand the nature of the charges against you?
- Do you understand that you have the right to a trial?
- Do you understand that you may have a trial by judge or jury?
- Do you understand that you would have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial?
- Do you understand that you would have the right to testify and confront witnesses?
- Do you understand that you are waiving those rights by pleading guilty?
- Has anyone forced, coerced, or promised you anything (other than the agreed sentence) in exchange for you pleading guilty?
- Has your attorney fully explained this information to you?
Of course, pleading guilty is a last resort. We are very successful at avoiding this. However, it is important that drivers know the process, their rights and all possible scenarios when fighting an aggravated speeding case.
Is going to trial an option for me?
For most drivers, going to trial on an aggravated speeding charge is the last resort. The reason for this is if found guilty at trial, the defendant is likely to receive a criminal conviction. Many times we can avoid the high risks that come with a trial.
In some scenarios, the driver’s best option is to take their case to trial. When that happens, we are happy to conduct an aggravated speeding trial. We have done this so many times in the past with successful results.
Determining whether or not you should go to trial or if your case is good for trial is something you and your attorney can discuss in court.
Consequences And Penalties Of An Aggravated Speeding Conviction
What are the consequences of an aggravated speeding conviction?
Unfortunately, an aggravated speeding conviction causes damage to both your driving record and criminal record. This is an unwelcome double dip for Illinois drivers.
The more serious of the two is probably the criminal record. If the driver is young or has a clean background, we would hate to see the individual develop a criminal record because of an aggravated speeding ticket. It sounds unfathomable to some people, but it happens. Your sweet grandmother who hasn’t done anything wrong in 70 years could have a harsh criminal record if she is convicted of aggravated speeding.
Your driving record is also impaired when you are convicted of aggravated speeding. For some, this may be more important than the criminal record because driving is how they earn a living or use it to commute to and from school and work.
How much is an aggravated speeding ticket?
Unlike a petty speeding ticket, you do not have the option of just paying your aggravated speeding ticket. The fines and penalties, if any, will be determined in court. The potential fine for Class B criminal speeding is $1,500 plus court costs. The potential fine for Class A criminal speeding is $2,500 plus court costs.
Are reckless driving and aggravated speeding similar charges?
Many people think of aggravated speeding as a form of reckless driving. That is not entirely incorrect. Reckless driving is defined as driving “any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” See 625 ILCS 5/11-503.
You can see how the argument can be made that excessive speeding is a disregard for safety. We often see drivers charged with both aggravated speeding and reckless driving. This is usually because the driver is accused of doing more than just speeding. They’re also accused of weaving through traffic, disregarding stop lights, or some other behavior that may rise to the level of disregarding safety.
Reckless driving is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. This is the same “level” of seriousness as speeding 35 mph or more over the limit.
If a driver is charged with both, it is even more important that they contact a skilled traffic attorney because there are more opportunities for the prosecution to obtain a successful conviction.
What does it mean to receive supervision for aggravated speeding?
When drivers receive supervision, they are pleading guilty but they avoid a conviction. The court requires the driver to meet a few conditions during the supervision period. If the driver meets all of those conditions during the supervision period and provides proof of this to the court, the court will terminate the supervision as “satisfactory” and a conviction will not be entered against the driver.
The supervision conditions may include the following:
- Pay all fines and fees due to the court
- Do not receive any additional tickets during the supervision period
- Complete driving school or a similar course
- Complete a certain number of independent community service hours
- Return to court on a specified date to provide proof of the above
How do I know if I’m eligible for supervision if I plead guilty?
As mentioned earlier, aggravated speeding is an offense that was created by the Illinois legislature in 2013. It became a law in 2014. At that time, a driver was not eligible to receive supervision for aggravated speeding. Drivers that were charged with aggravated speeding at that time were facing an even bigger problem than they are today.
On January 1, 2016 the law was changed to permit Illinois drivers to receive supervision for aggravated speeding. This was a welcomed relief for both drivers and traffic defense attorneys. However, a driver is eligible to receive supervision just once in a lifetime for aggravated speeding. Also, a driver is not eligible for supervision if the ticket is for speeding in the following places:
- Construction zone
- School zone
- Urban district
What is a construction zone?
For some drivers, the exact location of the alleged speeding makes a big difference. When drivers are charged with speeding in a construction zone, they are not eligible for supervision. Construction zones are described under the law as follows:
A ‘construction or maintenance speed zone’ is an area in which the Department, Toll Highway Authority, or local agency has posted signage advising drivers that a construction or maintenance speed zone is being approached, or in which the Department, Authority, or local agency has posted a lower speed limit with a highway construction or maintenance speed zone special speed limit sign after determining that the preexisting established speed limit through a highway construction or maintenance project is greater than is reasonable or safe with respect to the conditions expected to exist in the construction or maintenance speed zone. (625 ILCS 5/11-605.1)
What is a school zone?
Speeding in a school zone can not only make the driver ineligible for supervision, it can also cause extra tickets to be written and penalties escalated. Illinois law, 625 ILCS 5/11-605, defines a school zone as follows:
On a school day when school children are present and so close thereto that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of the motorized traffic, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour while passing a school zone or while traveling on a roadway on public school property or upon any public thoroughfare where children pass going to and from school.
What is an urban district?
An urban district is defined as the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more. See 625 ILCS 5/1-214.
This can be a confusing definition. Basically, it means a street that has businesses or homes on it. So an aggravated speeding ticket issued on a residential street may not be supervision eligible. An aggravated speeding ticket issued on the highway may be supervision eligible because there are no homes or businesses on the highway.
If I plead guilty, what happens to my driver’s license?
A conviction for aggravated speeding will not automatically suspend your license. However, a conviction will be reported to the Secretary of State. An Illinois driver with three convictions within a twelve month period will have their driver’s license suspended.
The best way to avoid a driver’s license suspension is to avoid convictions in the first place. If it is too late for this, it may be possible to vacate the prior conviction and obtain a more favorable disposition. When this happens, the suspension may be eliminated. This is a fairly confusing process for the untrained person. There are many rules, procedures and scenarios that must be considered before vacating a ticket. It is not recommended that you attempt to do this on your own. Instead, it is wise to consult experienced traffic attorneys to fully understand the likelihood of vacating your conviction.
Will my car insurance rates increase?
Insurance companies have their own proprietary procedures, processes and algorithms for determining a driver’s insurance premium. It’s difficult or impossible to say exactly what will cause insurance rates to increase. However, aggravated speeding is considered a serious driving offense. Since it is a moving violation, the insurance companies definitely have the right to hike rates if a driver is convicted. If insurance companies can raise their rates, it is a good bet that they will raise the rates.
However, supervision is not a conviction. Therefore, insurance companies do not have the right to raise rates if you receive supervision and complete it satisfactorily.
I’ve heard about community service, does it apply to aggravated speeding?
As lawyers defending aggravated speeding cases every day, we spot trends. One of those trends is for judges and prosecutors to require independent community service as part of the driver’s sentence.
Independent community service, or “ICS” as it is often called, is when the defendant performs work for a non-profit organization. It can be nearly any type of work as long as the defendant is not being compensated, and it must be a non-profit organization. Often, defendants perform community service at church, a pet shelter, the Salvation Army or other similar non-profit organization.
The decision about where to complete the community service is up to the defendant. The court typically will not recommend a specific organization. It is the responsibility of the defendant to find the organization and get the hours completed on time.
Most non-profit organizations are familiar with this program. It is unlikely that you will be the first person to approach an organization with this proposal.
It is the responsibility of the defendant to obtain written confirmation of the hours that were worked. The defendant must obtain a written letter from the organization on its letterhead stating the hours that were worked by the defendant. The letter should be signed by a supervisor or manager at the organization. Upon completion of the hours, the defendant is responsible for providing the letter to the court to ensure the sentence is satisfactorily completed.
Is driving school a requirement of an aggravated speeding sentence?
Drivers often think they can mail in a request to attend driving school and receive supervision on their ticket. That is not possible with aggravated speeding because it is a criminal case. The driver’s appearance in court is required. However, the driver’s sentence may include driving school. For example, the attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge in exchange for the driver attending driving school. Other times, the judge may include driving school as part of the sentence.
Each county handles driving school differently. In Lake County, driving school is often part of the sentence. In Cook County, driving school is not ordered as frequently. However, some judges will require the driver to attend a course called “Alive At 25” if the driver is under 25 years of age.
Each case is different because each case involves different backgrounds, speeds, prosecutors, judges and other facts. No two cases are exactly the same. An experienced traffic attorney will know when and where to push for a better resolution for the driver.
Can the speed at which I was traveling affect my sentence for aggravated speeding?
Driving over 100 mph is not an enhanced charge. Unofficially, however, many prosecutors and judges consider 100 mph to be a more serious ticket. Often, they will seek more severe penalties against the driver. When the speed is over 100 miles per hour, multiple court dates may be required to submit mitigation (referenced earlier) or find other ways to obtain a more favorable outcome for the driver.
Special Situations And The Effect Of Aggravated Speeding
What immigration issues might I face with aggravated speeding?
Immigration is a hot topic right now. The policies surrounding immigration are changing almost daily. To make matters more difficult, there are often no clear answers as to what will or will not trigger an immigration inquiry.
With that being said, we have not yet seen aggravated speeding cause issues with one’s immigration status. That is not to say it would not or could not happen.
When a non-citizen has a criminal case, the best way to avoid immigration issues is to resolve the case in a very favorable way. For that reason, we recommend retaining an experienced law firm that concentrates its practice primarily on handling these cases.
Additionally, we have a very close relationship with a number of immigration attorneys in and around Chicago. When a client of ours has immigration concerns, we are happy to assist them in getting answers to their questions.
How will aggravated speeding affect my Commercial Driver’s License?
A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to operate a commercial vehicle. Aggravated speeding is the same type of case whether you have a regular driver’s license or a CDL. But when the driver has a CDL, there is an added layer of complexity involved.
We have talked a lot about an aggravated speeding ticket being a criminal offense, but aggravated speeding is also a moving violation. CDL holders can lose their licenses if they have moving violation convictions, and aggravated speeding is considered a “major” moving violation.
To make matters more difficult, drivers holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are expected to have a higher level of knowledge, experience, skills, and physical abilities. This means they are held to a higher standard than drivers without a CDL in the eyes of the law.
For that reason, supervision is counted as a conviction for a CDL driver. As discussed previously, supervision is an excellent option for many drivers in a tough situation. But supervision is not helpful to a CDL driver.
It is even more important CDL driver’s hire qualified counsel to defend them. Unfortunately, we have seen too many times where a truck driver hires an inexperienced attorney and resolves the case, only to find out that their CDL is being disqualified. Don’t make that same mistake.
What happens if I get an aggravated speeding charge and I’m not 21 years old yet?
Legally, there is no distinction between an aggravated speeding defendant who is under twenty-one and one who is older. The charge is the exact same regardless of the driver’s age. However, judges and prosecutors frequently treat a 19-year-old defendant differently than someone who is older with an aggravated speeding charge. Sometimes that’s good, but sometimes it’s not.
An under-21-year-old driver is seen as a bigger risk-taker. It’s common for people to say they’re young and reckless and need to be taught a lesson. On the other hand, most young drivers have a clean criminal background, so prosecutors and judges are reluctant to permanently ruin a driver’s criminal record because of a single traffic offense.
Depending on the facts of the case and the judge and prosecutor assigned to it, you may get either response. Having an attorney who is skilled at navigating those waters can prove helpful.
What happens if I am charged with aggravated speeding along with other tickets?
When a client receives multiple tickets, we tend to rank them from most serious to least serious. This is because prosecutors and judges will usually deal with the most serious charge first.
For example, if a driver is cited for aggravated speeding and also given a ticket by the officer for having an illegal license plate cover, our primary focus is the aggravated speeding. However, we still want to address the license plate by showing it wasn’t improper to try to get the charge removed.
In contrast, if a driver is cited for driving under the influence and aggravated speeding, our primary concern is the DUI. Yes, the aggravated speeding is important and we will address it, but the majority of the prosecutor’s effort will be spent on the DUI.