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Illinois Looking to Strengthen Penalties of Move-Over LawIllinois lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would increase the punishment for drivers who violate the “move-over” law, also known as Scott’s Law. The existing law states that drivers must use caution when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Scott’s Law is a traffic violation that requires a fine, though it can also be an aggravating factor for charges such as driving under the influence. The changes to the law would expand the punishments for incidents involving property damage or personal injury.

Scott’s Law

The state created the move-over law to protect emergency responders after several had been injured or killed when motorists struck them by the side of the road. The law was named after Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who died after being hit by an intoxicated driver while responding to a crash. The law states that drivers who are approaching a stationary emergency vehicle must:

  • Proceed with caution;
  • Reduce speed; and
  • Change lanes in order to give the vehicle room, if possible.

The law defines a stationary emergency vehicle as any vehicle that is authorized to be equipped with flashing lights, including the red and blue lights and yellow lights. A conviction is a business offense, punishable by a fine of $100 to $10,000. For incidents involving vehicle damage or personal injury, the offender’s driver’s license can be suspended for 90 to 180 days.

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Contesting a Hit and Run Criminal ChargeAny person involved in a vehicle accident that results in property damage or personal injury has a duty to remain at the scene and report the incident. Police must arrive at the scene to document the incident, and parties involved must exchange contact and insurance information. Leaving the site of an accident prematurely – commonly known as hit and run – is a criminal offense. The charge can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving only property damage is a class A misdemeanor;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which a person was injured is a class 4 felony if the offender still reports the accident within a half hour;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which a person was injured and not reporting it within a half hour is a class 2 felony; and
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which a person died is a class 1 felony.

It can be difficult to defend against a hit and run charge because there are few circumstances in which it is appropriate to leave the scene of an accident. There are a couple of ways to successfully argue against the charge:

  1. Mistaken Identity: The person accused may be uninvolved in the incident. Witnesses can make mistakes when identifying a vehicle. Someone other than the owner of the vehicle may have been driving it.
  2. Moving to Safety: Drivers involved in an accident must try to move their vehicle out of the path of oncoming traffic. If the driver does this while the police officer is at the scene, the officer may mistakenly believe that the driver was trying to flee.
  3. Not Aware: Though difficult to prove, a driver may not have known that he or she struck a vehicle and injured a person. The defense will need to show whether it was reasonable for the driver to have been unaware of the accident.
  4. Emergency Situations: A driver in a rush to transport someone to the hospital may cause an accident. A court may excuse someone leaving an accident site due to a medical emergency, as long as that person made a reasonable effort to report the accident later.
  5. Involuntary Intoxication: Being under the influence of an intoxicating substance is not a defense against leaving the scene of an accident. However, someone who was drugged against his or her will may not be responsible for his or her decisions.

Figuring Out Your Defense 

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Breathalyzers: How They WorkNearly everyone in America is familiar with the fact that it is illegal to drink and drive. Doing so violates a state's driving under the influence (DUI) law. However, not very many have considered the intricate issue of how law enforcement can effectively determine whether someone is “under the influence” of alcohol. That police use breathalyzers is common knowledge, but how do they work?

How Alcohol Gets Into Your Blood

When you drink an alcoholic beverage, it gets swallowed down your throat and makes it to your stomach. From there, the liquid passes into the intestines. Throughout its travels inside your body, the alcohol seeps through the inner linings of your organs and into your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, the alcohol flows with your blood through your veins and arteries.

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McHenry County traffic attorney, school bus cameras, stopped school bus, traffic laws, traffic violationsEnforcing traffic laws has long been a problem for state and municipal police departments. A lack in officers on the road, compared to the number of vehicles, makes it difficult for police to keep tabs on drivers. Hence, police departments have turned to technology to assist in catching drivers who disregard the rules of the road. Red light cameras, speed cameras, and now school bus cameras are being used to capture dangerous drivers.

In fact, at the start of the school year, Palatine Elementary School District 15 initiated a pilot program to test out school bus cameras on a several routes, per the advice of the Rolling Meadows Police Department.

The Camera Program

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