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McHenry County traffic defense lawyerBy now, we have all seen and heard the campaigns encouraging us to put our phones down while driving. Over the last few years, safety groups and even the cell service carriers themselves have consistently reminded drivers to stop texting while driving. Unfortunately, the public does not seem to be heeding these warnings. A law that was passed last year, however, made it possible for Illinois drivers to lose their driving privileges for illegally using their phones while driving. If you are a person who struggles to put your phone down behind the wheel, you should know the potential risks of such behavior.

Disappointing Texting and Driving Statistics

State Farm, an insurance industry leader, recently conducted a survey to gauge attitudes among the general public about using a cell phone while driving. The results of the survey suggested that most people realize the dangers, but far too many drivers use their phones anyway. Over 80 percent of respondents reported that they knew that using a handheld cell phone to make or receive calls was dangerous, but fully one-half of respondents acknowledged they used a handheld device for calls while driving. Nearly all of the survey’s participants—95 percent—said they knew that texting while driving was dangerous and distracting, but more than one-third—35 percent—said they text in spite of the dangers.

In the state of Illinois, it is and has been against the law to use a cell phone or another electronic device to send and receive messages, use apps, and access internet sites while driving. Talking on a cell phone without using a speakerphone or a hands-free function is also illegal. The penalty for a first-time violation is a fine of $75, and a second offense will result in a fine of $100. The fine increases to $125 for a third violation, and a fourth or subsequent offense is punishable by a fine of $150.

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Carelessness Can Cause Driving Without License ChargesDriving without a valid license is one of the most common offenses that police officers charge Illinois drivers with, and potentially one of the most difficult to contest. Asking to see a driver's license is standard procedure for any road stop. If you cannot present a valid license during the stop, you may be arrested and charged. Those convicted may face fines, probation and prison time, depending on the severity of the offense. Some offenders know they are violating the law when they are caught. However, incidents of driving without a license can occur when people are careless.

Suspended or Revoked License

When Illinois suspends or revokes your driver's license, you are allowed to apply for reinstatement after a designated period of time. Because the process can be complex, you must be certain that the reinstatement has finished before you start driving again:

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Illinois DUI Driver's License Suspension Hearing, dui, license suspension, court hearing, McHenry County DUI and driver's license suspension attorneys, law firmA basic legal term applicable to all types of hearings and cases (whether they be administrative or driver's license suspension hearings, civil, or criminal in nature) is the burden of proof. The “burden of proof” in a case refers not only to which party has the obligation to prove his or her assertions but how convincing the proof offered in support of its assertions must be. There are three “burdens” – depending on the type of hearing, one of these three burdens will be applicable to the party bearing the burden of proof:

  • Preponderance of evidence: This means that the party must produce enough evidence to convince the factfinder (the judge or jury) that the proposition or assertion is more likely than not true;
  • Clear and convincing evidence: When a party must prove an assertion or proposition by clear and convincing evidence, then the evidence must leave the factfinder firmly convinced that the assertion or proposition is true.
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt: Applicable only in criminal proceedings, this is the highest burden of proof in the American legal system. When this burden is met, the factfinder does not have any “reasonable doubt” as to the veracity of the assertion or proposition (the factfinder is left to determine what a “reasonable” doubt is).

The Burden of Proof in DUI-Based Suspension Hearings

In a criminal DUI proceeding, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to prove you were operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. However, when you attempting to preserve your driving privileges in a suspension hearing, the burden of proof is on you – the driver – to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that your license and driving privileges ought not to be suspended. You can do this, for instance, by showing:

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illinois traffic offenses, license suspension, speeding ticket, driving record, law firmThe vast majority of individuals who are cited for a speeding or other traffic offense will usually choose to pay the fine and costs of the ticket. In the minds of such individuals, the hassle and expense of hiring an attorney and appearing in court in order to contest a speeding ticket - especially when (they think) the costs of retaining a lawyer and taking time off of work in order to contest the ticket - appear to exceed the cost of the ticket itself. Yet, there are compelling reasons why you may wish to reconsider your approach to handling traffic tickets. An experienced McHenry County traffic defense attorney can help prevent your traffic ticket from causing further difficulties for you and your family.

Consequences of a Traffic Conviction

Even though a conviction of a traffic infraction will not result in any jail time (unlike traffic-related misdemeanor crimes, such as driving under the influence), you may still experience significant negative consequences from the conviction, such as:

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Posted on in Traffic Offenses

traffic ticket penalties, McHenry County Traffic Attorney, traffic offenses, traffic ticket, license suspension, increased insurance costs, driving record, traffic ticket fines, traffic convictionTraffic stops are some of the most common interactions people have with law enforcement personnel. In fact, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tens of millions of people each year receive speeding tickets. Despite the frequency of these encounters, many do not fully understand the consequences of their traffic tickets. Therefore, tickets are simply paid off and forgotten. However, fighting a ticket may actually be the better option as there are penalties for traffic tickets beyond the fines, including points being added to a person's driving record, potential license suspensions, and even increased insurance costs, though the last is not a state-imposed penalty.

The Results of a Traffic Ticket

The most obvious and common result of a traffic ticket is the fine. Fines vary depending on the offense, but they tend to appear in the range of $50 to $350. However, more serious offenses, most notably DUIs, have increased penalties. DUI penalties can start out as high as $2,500 for a first offender, and repeat offenders can see the fines climbing as high as $25,000 in some circumstances.

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