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Examining the Consequences of Traffic Violations in IllinoisEvery single day, hundreds of Illinoisans are cited for violating the state’s traffic laws in one fashion or another. While the vast majority of traffic violations are considered petty offenses, there are a number of violations that can lead to serious legal ramifications for the driver. Below, we will discuss some of the consequences of violating Illinois’ traffic laws and the need for you to hire a knowledgeable attorney if you are facing charges related to a traffic violation

Misdemeanor Offenses 

In the state of Illinois, the overwhelming majority of traffic violations fall under two categories: petty violations and misdemeanors. A misdemeanor charge can vary in severity from Class A to Class C, with a Class A misdemeanor coming with the most serious potential legal consequences. Class C misdemeanors tend to be fairly harmless crimes that are considered more reckless than a petty offense. Class C misdemeanors can include violations such as stealing or destroying a traffic sign and are only punishable by up to 30 days in prison. It should be noted that a person can still be fined up to $1,000 for a Class C misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors come with more serious consequences. They include violations such as speeding anywhere from 26 to 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. If convicted, a Class B misdemeanor can result in a six-month prison sentence. 

The most serious misdemeanor offenses are classified as Class A misdemeanors. The most common traffic violation leading to a Class A misdemeanor is a first-time DUI offense. Other common Class A misdemeanors include reckless driving charges, driving with a suspended license, or traveling at speeds over 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. A Class A misdemeanor can lead to up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It is worth noting that a Class A misdemeanor can also impact a person’s ability to land future employment, loans, and housing opportunities. 

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The Impact of Driving With a Suspended License In the state of Illinois, thousands of drivers lose their driving privileges each and every year. While driving your car is a necessary part of life for the vast majority of Americans, making the decision to operate your vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked can come with serious legal consequences. Below we will discuss the violations that can constitute a license suspension in Illinois, the consequences of disregarding the suspension, and how a skilled attorney can assist you in regaining your driving privileges. 

How You Can Lose Your License 

According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, one can lose their driving privileges for a number of traffic violations and other offenses. The most common violation leading to a suspension is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If convicted, a person that failed chemical testing will receive a six-month suspension. If a driver in the state of Illinois receives three traffic citations within 12 months, they will also face a suspension. A person who receives 10 or more parking citations and fails to pay the tickets will receive a parking suspension. Under the state’s Failure to Pay and Failure to Appear policies, failure to pay for tickets or failure to appear in court can also allow a license suspension. It should be noted that a person can receive a license suspension for a non-traffic violation. Illinois’ Family Financial Responsibility Law states that a person can receive a license suspension for failing to pay court-ordered child support. 

The Consequences of Driving With a Suspended License 

According to Illinois state law, driving with a suspended license constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, fines of up to $2,500, and up to one year in prison. In other instances, a person can face felony charges for driving with a suspended license. For instance, if a person with a suspended license for a prior DUI conviction is apprehended while driving under the influence, they will face a Class 4 felony charge. 

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How to Hire the Right Criminal Defense Attorney When you are facing criminal charges, whether they be drug-related or a violent crime, there will likely be a lot going through your mind. The blatant truth is that you could be facing serious legal ramifications if convicted of the charges. That being said, one of the most important steps you can take when facing criminal charges is hiring the right criminal defense attorney. Below we will walk you through some simple steps you should take prior to hiring a lawyer. If you are facing serious criminal charges, you deserve to work with a quality and compassionate legal professional. 

  1. Speak With the Attorney: Prior to hiring an attorney, it is critically important to ensure that your personality will work with theirs. You and your attorney will need to spend hours together going through your case and developing a comprehensive defense strategy. If your personality is simply not a good fit with theirs, you should probably look in a different direction. By speaking with an attorney, you can also gain a better understanding of their personability and rhetorical navigation, two skills that can be critical in the courtroom. 
  2. Look Into Their Track Record: The most important aspect of a relationship with an attorney is trust. You need to be able to trust your attorney to assist you in the entirety of the legal process and provide you with the best opportunity to see the charges be dropped. A great way to gain trust for an attorney is through exploring their previous track record. If you are facing DUI charges, look for information on their recent DUI cases. If they have failed to help previous clients have their charges dropped or diminished, they may not be the right attorney for you. Client testimonials can also provide you with an honest insight into what it is like to work with a specific attorney. 
  3. Ask Legal Questions: Personability is key in the courtroom, but it is not everything. In order to ensure that your case is handled with care, you need to know that your attorney is knowledgeable of your state’s laws. For instance, if you are fighting a DUI charge in the state of Illinois, does your attorney understand how a mishandled chemical test could lead to dropped charges? In order to gauge an attorney’s knowledge, it is important to ask them a number of legal questions that pertain to your case. A skilled legal professional will be more than willing to answer any and all of a prospective client’s questions. 

Contact a Lombard Criminal Law Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, our attorneys are dedicated to providing our clients with a unique quality of care throughout the entirety of the legal process. We are prepared to do everything in our power to ensure that our clients have their charges dropped or significantly lessened in severity. Do not leave your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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Why You Should Fight Against a Reckless Driving Charge In Illinois, a reckless driving charge has serious legal ramifications and criminal punishment. Reckless driving is defined as the act of driving with a willful disregard for the safety of yourself and others, and a conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. If another party suffers injuries in a collision caused by reckless driving, the charges can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. Understanding the possible consequences of a reckless driving conviction, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable defense attorney and aggressively fight against the charges. 

Possible Defenses for a Reckless Driving Charge 

While a reckless driving conviction can result in life-changing consequences, there are a number of defensive strategies that can be effective in a reckless driving case. The first step you should take after being charged with reckless driving is hiring an attorney you can trust. After securing a qualified lawyer, you and your attorney will examine the events that lead to your arrest and the arrest procedures taken. Challenging the evidence in a reckless driving case is a common defense. Your attorney will inspect the evidence collected in the case, which usually consists of radar gun readings, video evidence, and witness reports, and determine if an argument can be built on the notion that the evidence was inconclusive. These defenses can center around a witness misremembering the incident, or a radar gun that was improperly calibrated. 

In other instances, your attorney can argue that you were not intending to operate your vehicle in a reckless manner. For instance, a person can be charged with reckless driving for driving upwards of 35 miles per hour over the speed limit. If the arrest took place in an area in which the speed limit dropped rapidly such as a school zone, but speed limit signs were difficult to see, the charges may be dropped. Your attorney can also argue that your intent was not reckless, but negligent, resulting in a petty violation rather than a conviction and a mark on your criminal record. 

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Can I Still Face Legal Trouble for Possession or Ingestion of Marijuana? Since the start of the new year, recreational marijuana use has been legal in the state of Illinois. When Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 1438, also known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana use and changed the landscape of marijuana distribution statewide. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and also made thousands of prior marijuana convictions eligible for expungement. All that being said, there are still a number of marijuana-related violations that can result in serious drug charges and legal ramifications. 

Possession and Use 

While it is now legal for people in the state of Illinois to possess marijuana, you must comply with the state guidelines. Adults over the age of 21 are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, edible products totaling no more than 500 milligrams of THC, and up to five grams of cannabis concentrate products. If you are a non-resident visiting Illinois, those possession limits are cut in half. Possessing more than 30 grams of marijuana can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge and up to one year in prison. It is also important to note that only licensed dispensaries are allowed to distribute marijuana. The illegal sale of marijuana can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. One can also face fines for using marijuana in public areas, motor vehicles, or in the presence of minors. 

Marijuana and Motor Vehicle Operation 

With recreational marijuana use now legal in the state, law enforcement officials are now increasingly on the lookout for drugged driving. If you are tested with a THC blood concentration upwards of five nanograms per milliliter of blood, you will face a charge for driving under the influence of marijuana. Law enforcement officials have the right to request chemical testing if they have probable cause to believe you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Signs of marijuana use can include drug paraphernalia, smell, and visible symptoms such as eye discoloration. A first-time DUI offender can face Class A misdemeanor charges and significant fines. 

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