Consider the contents of your wallet. If it was stolen, what would be the most challenging thing to do without for a few days? Chances are, you could get by without your credit or debit card and insurance identification cards for a little while until you receive new ones. Your driver’s license, however, is a whole different story. Without it, you would probably struggle to board an airplane, purchase alcohol, or even cash a check. However, for many years, the state of Illinois allowed law enforcement officers to take a person’s driver’s license as bail when citing him or her for a traffic violation. Thanks to a law that went into effect earlier this year, though, the practice has come to an end, and it is important to know your rights and responsibilities.
Implementing Sign and Drive
Just over a year ago, the Illinois legislature and then-Governor Pat Quinn recognized the challenges presented to citizens by having their licenses confiscated as bail. They realized that affecting the way that a person goes about his or her daily life was not appropriate based on relative minor severity of most traffic violations. Thus, in August of 2014, the so-called Sign and Drive was officially signed by the governor, taking effect on January 1, 2015.
The previous law permitted an officer to confiscate a license to ensure the driver’s compliance in responding the citation. The license was returned when offender appeared in court or paid the fine associated with the ticket. Under the new law, a driver who receives a citation is required to provide a signature guaranteeing that he or she will respond appropriately, by either pleading guilty and paying the fine or by appearing in court to dispute violation.
Although requiring only a signature now, the new law still includes potential consequences for those who fail to comply. Any driver who fails to appear or enter a plea as directed by the citation is subject to having his or her driving privileges suspended by the Secretary of State until the violation is resolved. A suspension may be avoided based upon a showing of good cause, but the final authority rests with the Secretary’s office.
If you have been charged with a traffic violation and your license was confiscated as a result, your rights have violated. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney and put our team to work for you. We will review your case and the details of your citation, and offer you the top-quality legal representation you deserve. Call 847-253-3100 for your free consultation today.