Many people believe they can pay a speeding ticket and the matter is taken care of. However, a speeding ticket can result in driver’s license suspension. Under certain circumstances, a speeding ticket can cause a revoked license. In almost every case of a suspension or revocation, it sneaks up on the driver.
For example, the driver will get pulled over by a police officer and given a ticket for driving while license suspended. He or she will say, “I didn’t know my license was suspended,” but that is not a defense. Driving while suspended or revoked is a criminal offense, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. What is worse, the Secretary of State will re-suspend the license of a person who is found guilty of driving while suspended. These can be the consequences for a speeding ticket.
The general rule is that, for drivers who are 21 years of age and older, 3 moving violations within 12 months will result in a suspended license. For drivers who are younger than 21 years old, 2 moving violations in 24 months will cause a driver’s license suspension. Speeding is a moving violation that counts against a driver’s license under the foregoing rule.
A suspension will terminate on a given date. When that time comes, the driver is eligible for reinstatement upon payment of a reinstatement fee to the Secretary of State.
A revoked license is much more difficult. On paper (i.e., the notice from the Secretary of State), the revocation will last until a certain date. But the difference between a revocation and a suspension is that when the term date of the revocation has arrived, the driver cannot get reinstated without first appearing before a Secretary of State hearing officer. The driver must attend either a formal or informal hearing at a Secretary of State facility and prove that his or her reinstatement will not endanger the public safety. This task is not easy, and many drivers are denied reinstatement at their formal hearing. Thus a revocation can last, at least in theory, indefinitely.
At present, the speed limit in Illinois is as follows:
- 65 mph on a highway with four lanes of traffic divided by a median
- 55 mph on all other highways
- 30 mph on a road
- 15 mph in an alley
- 20 mph in a school zone (child present, 7 am – 4 pm, on a school day)
None of the above speed limits is a given, however. The State may reduce the speed limit on a highway with four lanes divided by a median (e.g., the Dan Ryan is 55 mph through Chicago). And local governments can reduce the speed limit on their roads.
When a person is pulled over by a police officer and given a speeding ticket, the ticket will indicate how many mph over the limit the person was driving (e.g., 11-14 mph over). The statute for speeding does not classify the offense of speeding in this way, but this practice takes place because that is how the Secretary of State assigns points to a driver’s license.
The points assigned to a driver’s license for speeding are as follows:
- Speeding too fast for conditions. 10 points.
- 1-10 mph over the limit. 5 points.
- 11-14 mph over the limit. 15 points.
- 15-25 mph over the limit. 25 points.
- 26-29 mph over the limit. 50 points.
- 30 mph over the limit. 50 points.
- Speeding in a school zone. 20 points.
- Speeding in a work zone. 20 points.
The Secretary of State will suspend a driver’s license because of too many moving violations, not points. But the points are relevant because, once the suspension is put into effect, the points determine the length of the suspension.
If a person’s license is suspended or revoked as a result of 3 convictions within 12 months, the Secretary will suspend the license as follows:
If there has been no prior suspension or revocation within the last 7 years:
- 15 through 44 points. 2 month suspension.
- 45 through 74 points. 3 month suspension.
- 75 through 89 points. 6 month suspension.
- 90 through 99 points. 9 month suspension.
- 100 through 109 points. 12 month suspension.
- 110 or more points. Revocation.
See 92 Illinois Administrative Code 1040.30(b).
Thus it takes only three speeding tickets of 26 mph over the limit in one year to revoke a driver’s license.
What if the ticket is for driving 40 mph or more over the speed limit. In that case, the ticket is not a petty offense (punishable by fine only). In that case, it is a Class A misdemeanor offense (one year in jail and a $2,500 fine).
When a driver is involved in an accident, the police will usually write a ticket for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, or driving too fast for conditions. The statute that is cited is actually the same statute for speeding. This is because the statute governing speed for motor vehicles has a catch-all provision:
A person shall not drive a vehicle upon any highway at a speed which is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any person or property. See 625 ILCS 5/11-601(a).
The basis for this offense is that, regardless of the posted speed limit, the driver was going too fast.
The Illinois Vehicle Code also contains a minimum speed limit, or rather a rule for drivers going too slow:
A person, driving at less than the normal speed of traffic, shall drive in the right-hand lane available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. See 625 ILCS 5/11-701(b).
The author of this article has never seen anyone charged with this offense. The reason is that if a driver causes an accident for driving too slowly, the police would almost certainly cite the other driver(s) for driving too fast for conditions or failure to reduce speed. The police would conclude it was the other driver’s fault.
A speeding ticket is a petty offense. The maximum fine for a petty offense is $1,000. The amount paid by a defendant, however, can be greater because of court costs. The fine is subject to the discretion of the judge. The fines imposed vary greatly from one county to another.