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Illinois to Stiffen Speeding Penalties on July 1, 2013

Speeding is one of the most common offenses in Cook County and many Chicago residents do not take speeding tickets seriously. This is because few Illinois drivers know that speeding can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which is the same level as drunk driving and battery offenses.

Up until this summer, probation and fines were the most common penalties for individuals caught driving more than 40 mph above the speed limit. A new law, which will go into effect on July 1, 2013, will stiffen the penalties for speeding and restrict a court's ability to place speeders under supervision.

The new speeding law is called "Julie's Law" and is named after a 17-year-old girl from Frankfort, Illinois, named Julie Gorczynski.

Julie was killed in a southwest suburban Orland Park car accident in 2011. She was a passenger in a Jeep that was hit on its passenger side by a 21-year-old with a history of speeding violations.

Authorities say that the driver was traveling 76 mph in a 40 mph zone at the time of the accident. The new law was enacted because the legislature speculated that Julie's accident would not have happened if judges had not been so lenient on the driver's prior speeding violations.

Julie's Law will bar judges from ordering supervision for drivers charged with speeding more than 30 mph over the speed limit. Previously, judges could order supervision for all drivers except those caught traveling 40 mph or more above the speed limit. The law also bars judges from ordering supervision for individuals driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit in an urban district.

The downward revision in the supervision limit will likely result in more Cook County residents jailed forspeeding violations, which the courts hope will prevent some speeding-related car accidents. An investigation by the Chicago Tribune revealed that the driver in Julie's case was improperly given supervision for three of his seven speeding cases.

Julie's Law was signed last summer along with several other bills, including HB5101, which bans commercial drivers from using cellphones; SB2488, which bans cellphone use in work zones; and HB5099, which prohibits taking cellphone pictures within 500 feet of an emergency scene.

Being charged with a speeding offense can be an overwhelming situation. The Cook County law office ofDonald J. Cosley represents Illinois residents facing even the most serious speeding violations.

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