Chicago Traffic Lawyer
Virtually every driver will get a traffic ticket at some point in his or her life. For many people, a traffic ticket is a minor annoyance. They pay the fine, move on with their lives, and forget about it.
However, sometimes a traffic violation is more than just a ticket. Some Illinois traffic violations are misdemeanor crimes — or even felonies. Consequences of a criminal traffic offense can include:
- A jail or prison sentence
- Hefty fines and court fees
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Points on your driver’s license
- Increased car insurance premiums
- Loss of your job if it involves driving in any capacity
- Forfeiture of your vehicle
- Liability in a civil lawsuit if your violation involved a car accident
If you’ve been charged with a criminal traffic offense, you don’t have the option of simply paying a fine to make the ticket go away. That’s when you need the help of an experienced Chicago traffic lawyer to fight your charge and try to get it dismissed or reduced.
The Law Office of Michael O’Meara provides the skilled defense of criminal traffic matters and other types of violations. Attorney Michael O’Meara is an experienced trial lawyer who has defended countless criminal charges in courts in and around Chicago and helped numerous people charged with criminal traffic offenses to avoid jail time and fines and keep their drivers’ licenses.
Criminal Traffic Violations
Criminal traffic offenses in Illinois are just that — crimes. These are serious legal matters and cannot be resolved by paying a ticket, as you would if you were cited for speeding.
When you are suspected of committing a criminal traffic offense, you get charged in a criminal court and must choose to defend yourself or enter a guilty plea. If you’re found guilty, you face a potential jail or prison sentence and fines, just as though you’d committed a theft, assault, or some other type of criminal offense.
The severity of your criminal traffic charge and penalties depend on the nature of the offense. Some criminal traffic offenses can be felonies when they involve another person being injured or killed.
Some types of criminal traffic offenses handled by O’Meara Law LLC include:
- Vehicular Assault and Homicide — When you recklessly or intentionally hurt or kill someone while operating vehicle, such as causing an injury or death while operating a vehicle under the influence, you can be charged with a felony crime in Illinois.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident — Illinois law requires you to stop when you’ve been involved in an accident, to render aid to anyone who is injured, to provide your contact and insurance information to anyone who is injured or whose property is damaged, and to report the accident to law enforcement. When you fail to meet these requirements, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage, or a felony for an accident in which someone is injured or killed.
- Driving Under Suspension — It’s a misdemeanor offense to drive when your license is under suspension or has been revoked. A second or subsequent offense is a felony and can result in severe penalties.
- Fleeing and Eluding — Fleeing and eluding involves refusing to obey a police officer’s directions when the officer signals you to stop or pull over. The basic offense of fleeing and eluding is a misdemeanor in Illinois, but can be a felony under some circumstances.
- Reckless Driving — Reckless driving involves driving in a way that shows the willful disregard for other people or property. The basic offense is a misdemeanor in Illinois but can be a felony under some circumstances listed in 625 ILCS5/11-503.
Illinois Traffic Tickets
Common types of traffic tickets in Illinois include:
- Running a red light
- Running a stop light
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Failing to stop for an emergency vehicle
- Texting while driving
- Illegal U-turns
- Failure to wear a seat belt
Even a relatively simple traffic ticket might be worth challenging when you face the long-term financial consequences of a black mark on your driving record. If you’ve had multiple traffic tickets within the space of a couple of years, you likely will see a marked increase in your car insurance rates. You may even face suspension of your driver’s license if you have too many negative points on your driving record or have received three moving violations within one year.
Additionally, if your job involves any type of driving, your employer may check your driving record periodically and be hesitant to continue to employ you if you have moving violations on your record because they won’t want to risk liability if you cause an accident.
Further, paying a ticket is the same as pleading guilty to the moving violation – which means the offense then goes on your driving record. However, you may have options for fighting the ticket and avoiding the negative consequences of a guilty plea or a guilty finding.
Illinois Point System
Like many other states, Illinois applies negative points to your driving record for many types of moving violations and criminal traffic offenses. The number of points depends on the seriousness of the violation. When you accrue sufficient negative points or too many moving violations in too short a time, your license can be suspended or revoked by the Secretary of State.
An experienced Chicago traffic lawyer can advise you about how points on your driving record may affect your license and what you can do to avoid losing your driver’s license or to get it reinstated after a suspension.
An Experienced Chicago Traffic Lawyer For Your Illinois Traffic Charge
Chicago traffic defense lawyer Michael O’Meara has significant experience helping people charged with criminal traffic offenses in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County and other parts of Illinois.
O’Meara has been in practice for more than 20 years, including more than a decade as a criminal defense lawyer and several years as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney prosecuting various types of crimes, including DUIs and other criminal traffic matters. His experience as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer gives him a valuable insight into how the criminal justice system works and how to build a strong defense designed to get you the best possible outcome for your criminal traffic charge.
Call O’Meara Law LLC today at 312-909-0706 to schedule a consultation about your case.