In the typical case, a traffic violation is charged by Uniform Traffic Citation tendered to you by the issuing officer. The Citation is the formal charging instrument which sets forth the specific allegations against you, the date and time of the alleged offense, and the statutory provision which you are alleged to have violated. The statute alleged to have been violated will dictate the class of the alleged offense. Most traffic offenses are petty violations punishable by fine only. However, many traffic violations are misdemeanor offenses, and, in some cases, if certain circumstances exist, traffic charges may be enhanced for felony prosecution or are charged as felony offenses at inception. Regardless of class, many traffic violations carry mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. Paul will make sure that you are fully aware of your exposure based upon the nature of the offense charged and the circumstances that exist.
In some jurisdictions, only with regard to minor traffic offenses for which no court appearance is required, the issuing officer may provide you with a method by which you may enter a plea of guilty by mail and request a lenient disposition of court disposition. Determining your eligibility for a specified disposition, and determining your best course of action can become a complicated exercise, and, accordingly it is our strong recommendation that you contact Paul and request a free consultation in that regard.
If a court appearance is mandatory, or recommended and desired, in some jurisdictions the citation itself notifies you of the first scheduled court date, time, and court location. In other jurisdictions, the issuing officer will provide you with documentation which must be properly completed and mailed to the applicable Circuit Court Clerk in order for you to be notified by mail regarding your first scheduled court date. And, in still other jurisdictions, if you simply wait and do not mail any documentation to the Circuit Court Clerk, you will automatically by notified by mail regarding your first scheduled court date. Using our links page, you may make an inquiry with the applicable Circuit Court Clerk in that regard.
If it is your intention to proceed to trial in connection with the traffic charge against you, in some jurisdictions it is necessary for you to direct notice of your intent to plea not guilty to the applicable Circuit Court Clerk in order for a trial date to be set, and for you as well as the issuing officer to be properly notified of that trial date. If you have any questions with regard to your first scheduled court date, it is our strong recommendation that you contact Paul and he will assist you in resolving those issues.
If it is your intention to contest the the traffic charge against you, then the traffic matter will proceed through the court system in the same manner as any other criminal offense. On your first scheduled court date, you will enter your plea of not guilty and the discovery process will begin. Paul will obtain a copy of all police reports completed in connection with the cause, and will often times move the court to order supplemental discovery, or issue subpoenas to preserve and produce all material he deems necessary to your defense. Once that discovery material has been obtained, you and Paul will review it together, and you will be able to more intelligently discuss your alternatives toward a prompt resolution of your case.
However, many motorists do not desire to contest their traffic citations, and therefore do not retain Paul for his trial expertise, but rather request his assistance in obtaining the most lenient disposition available. Court supervision is a lenient disposition by which, upon a finding of guilt, no judgment of conviction enters. Rather, the case is deferred for a period of time, and during that term the court will order the motorist to comply with certain conditions typically including the payment of a fine and court costs, in some cases the completion of a driver improvement program, and an order that the motorist commit no further violations of the law. Under current Illinois law, any motorist under the age of 21 must complete a driver improvement program as a condition of court supervision granted in connection with a traffic offense. If, at the the conclusion of the term of court supervision, the motorist is in compliance with all of the conditions of the sentence, then the disposition of court supervision will be terminated satisfactorily and the traffic charge will be dismissed. Under current Illinois law, a motorist is eligible for a disposition of court supervision with regard to no more than 2 moving violations occurring within any 12 month period.
The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State is the governmental agency charged with the duty of issuing, sanctioning, and maintaining records regarding driver's licenses and driving privileges within the State of Illinois. The Secretary of State maintains 2 driving records for every motorist: an internal record called a "court purposes" record, and an external or public record. Only the public or external record is accessible by insurance companies and employers. For all motorists other than those holding Commercial Driver's Licenses, traffic offense dispositions of court supervision are reported only on the internal or "court purposes" driving record, and are not reported on the external or public driving record. Traffic offense convictions are reported on both driving records. A discretionary suspension or revocation will enter against the driver's license or driving privileges of a motorist 21 years of age or older if that motorist is convicted of 3 or more moving violations which occurred within any 12 month period, and against the driver's license and driving privileges of a motorist under the age of 21 years of age if that motorist is convicted of 2 or more moving violations which occurred withing any 24 month period.
COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSES (CDL)
The law governing traffic citations issued to CDL holders is much more onnerous, even if the alleged violation occured at a time when the CDL holder was operating his personal motor vehicle. Traffic violations subject a CDL holder to significant risk that his CDL may be disqualified by the Secretary of State. Accordingly, it is our recommendation that a CDL holder contact Paul for representation immediately upon the issuance of any traffic citation.
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