Illinois tollway drivers are finding out that state laws on speeding aren’t what they used to be. Drivers used to have to worry about misdemeanor charges only when speeding more than 30 MPH over the limit. But under a new law in 2014, a motorist can get a misdemeanor driving even slower than that.
The most recent change in the law makes speeding just 26 MPH over the limit a crime. Under Section 11-601.5(a) of the Vehicle Code, speeding 26-34 MPH over the posted limit is a Class B misdemeanor offense. The potential penalty for any Class B misdemeanor is 180 days in the county jail and a $1,500 fine.
To make matters worse, the driver is not eligible for supervision. The court is required to impose a permanent conviction, which can in some instances result in a suspended driver’s license.
Speeding 26 MPH over the limit is a ticket for which the motorist will have to hire an attorney. The judge presiding in traffic court is required to advise the accused that he is facing a misdemeanor offense punishable by a jail sentence, and continue the case for legal counsel.
The reason traffic court judges require people to retain counsel is that they want to retain the right to sentence the offender to jail if the circumstances warrant it. The law in the United States is that the accused cannot be sentenced to jail unless he is represented by counsel.
Attorneys representing clients in these cases would agree that traffic court has become very political in recent years. Speeding is now regarded as a very serious offense because the media has reported on leniency by traffic court judges for repeat offenders. An attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced is now a necessity to protect your driving privileges and avoid a criminal record.