Improper Lane Usage
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An Improper Lane Usage citation (625 ILCS 5/11-709) is commonly issued to a driver who has failed to properly stay within their lane or is weaving within their lane in an unsafe manner.
The law specifically states:
A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
The term “driving as nearly as practicable” can mean many things. Therefore, officers issues this ticket in many different situations.
Often, the driver has crossed outside their lane simply be due to poor or distracted driving. Other times, a ticket for Improper Lane Usage is given in more serious situations such as a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest or after a traffic accident has occurred.
Improper Lane Usage leading to DUI
Many drivers arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) also receive a ticket for Improper Lane Usage.
A DUI arrest often starts with a police officer observing a driver commit a traffic offense. Police officers are trained to look for people weaving in and out of lanes, or simply drifting outside a lane for a moment, to identify potential drunk drivers and justify a traffic stop. Therefore, the issue as to whether a person actually committed Improper Lane Usage could be vital in defending criminal charges that are filed as a result of the initial traffic stop.
Accidents due to Improper Lane Usage
When there is a traffic accident in Illinois, the police usually arrive on the scene to investigate what happened. During an investigation, the police officers may make conclusions about what happened and issue a report. More often than not, that investigation will include citing one or more drivers.
A common citation issued to a driver involved in an accident is Improper Lane Usage. The primary reason is that an accident often involves crossing a solid line and colliding with another vehicle. It is an easy conclusion for the police to make in preparing their reports about what happened in an accident.
Penalty for Improper Lane Usage in Illinois
A ticket for Improper Lane Usage is a petty offense under Illinois law and is not a jailable offense. That means the court can issue fine plus court costs and enter a conviction on the driver’s record. It may be possible to obtain court supervision and avoid a conviction, depending upon the individual’s driving record. The maximum fine is $1,000 but it’s more common to see fines of a few hundred dollars.
However, when the ticket is accompanied by some other criminal charge or is issued after a car accident, the stakes can be higher.
Defending Improper Lane Usage
The law requires the vehicle to be driven as “nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane.” This leaves a lot of room for argument. What is practicable? Also, there are many valid reasons for exiting a lane. Did any of those apply here?
A traffic attorney may wish to call witnesses, cross-examine the officer, and force the prosecution to prove their case at trial.
Additionally, a traffic attorney will ensure the officer acted properly and wrote the ticket correctly. Even if your attorney cannot get the ticket dismissed or beat it at trial, they may be able to resolve the ticket in a way that keeps a conviction off the driver’s record.
You have the right to defend yourself against these charges, and you have the right to hire a legal team to aid you in that effort. That is what we will do for you at the Driver Defense Team. We know how to defend these and other traffic-related tickets. If you are ticketed for Improper Lane Usage, contact us today.