Traffic violations, even misdemeanors, can attract serious consequences. Some effects may be immediate, while others occur in the long term. Many people might be warier of the violations if they understood the potential penalties. Below are some effects of traffic violations in Illinois.
Fine, Fees, and Legal Costs
Whichever direction your case takes, it’s likely to cost you money. The direct costs will come in three main ways.
Payment of monetary fines is a common punishment for traffic offenders. The fines vary from a few tens of dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the offense’s severity. According to lawyers.com, driving with a suspended license attracts a fine of between $25 and $2,500.
Your case can also attract court fees or costs. Court fees mostly carter for the administrative expenses of your case.
You also have to pay legal fees if you decide to use a lawyer for your defense. Legal representation is advisable if you decide to fight your charges.
A first offense rarely results in an automatic license suspension, but each offense attracts traffic points. You will have your license suspended or even revoked if you receive three citations (with convictions) within 12 months. The accumulated traffic points determine the length of your suspension.
Driver’s Education Course
You might also have to take enroll in a traffic safety school. The court will require your participation in the safety program if:
- You are under the age of 21
- You have received two traffic violations within two years, are under 21, and stand to have a license suspension
Participation in the program is beneficial even without the court’s requirement. For example, completing the course may reduce the severity of your driving violation charges. The education can also help you become a better driver and lessen the driving violation’s long-term effects.
Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program
The Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) is an alternative form of punishment available in Illinois. The government uses the SWAP program to reduce overcrowding in jails. The program is only available to non-violent offenders.
The court might send you to the SWAP program after a traffic violation conviction. In such a case, you will have to do community service, which mostly involves manual labor.
Incarceration is also an unusual form of a traffic violation punishment, but the punishment is not off the table. For example, the court might incarcerate you if:
- You are a repeat traffic offender
- You have a criminal background
- Your traffic violation resulted in an accident
- You had a child passenger at the time of the violation
The more aggravating circumstances your case has, the higher your likelihood of going to jail.
Another reason to avoid driving violations is the amount of time you will have to spend to deal with the charges. You might need time to:
- Consult with your lawyer
- Appear in court
- Take traffic safety classes
- Participate in community service
Spending time on your case keeps you away from your family, work, or hobbies.
Insurance Rate Increases
An auto insurance rate increase is often one of the worst effects of traffic violations. Auto insurance companies use your driving history to determine your risk. A traffic violation conviction increases your risk, which forces insurance carriers to increase your rates.
The rate increase can range from hundreds to thousands of your dollars. The amount will depend on the violation’s severity and your insurance carrier’s policies.
The consequences above are not often automatic. Your actions will determine how much, if any, of the consequences you have to bear. Daniels Long & Pinsel, LLC, can use their skills and experience to help you defend the charges. Contact us for a consultation to review your case and determine how best to defend you.