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traffic stop, Rolling Meadows traffic violations attorneyMost people can remember the feeling of independence that came with getting their driver’s license for the first time. On the other hand, most can also remember the nearly overwhelming fear that took over the first time they were pulled over by the police. Being stopped for a suspected traffic violation is intimidating for many drivers, including those who have been driving for decades. Younger drivers, however, often experience even more stress when they are pulled over, leading to confusing and potentially dangerous situations. Fortunately, lawmakers in Illinois have taken steps to prepare young drivers on how to handle being stopped by the police.

Helping New Drivers Learn the Rules of the Road

Approximately two years ago, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bipartisan measure requiring all driver’s education classes in the state to include a section on how to behave during a traffic stop. The bill’s timing coincided with a number of horrific, headline-making examples of traffic stops that escalated and spiraled out of control—some of them resulting in tragedy. The new law went into effect in 2017 and has affected driver’s education classes at public schools, private schools, and private training programs.

In many such classes, instructors ask a police officer to come in and talk to the students about traffic stops. The idea is to give drivers insight into concerns that the officer will have during the stop—something many young drivers may never have considered on their own. With a new perspective, new drivers will be better prepared if and when that first stop happens.

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excuse, Rolling Meadows traffic violations attorneyWhen you are pulled over for violating a traffic law, it is only natural that you would want to get out of a ticket. While you probably know that you could contest the citation in court, the process of fighting the ticket often begins informally during the conversation with the officer on the scene. A conviction for a traffic violation could result in fines, higher insurance premiums, and other penalties, so not getting a ticket in the first place is the easiest way to avoid a conviction. Unfortunately, a police officer is unlikely to be sympathetic when you offer a poor excuse.

Excuse #1: “I Wasn’t Paying Attention”

Traffic laws exist primarily for the purpose of keeping drivers attentive and safe. If you tell an officer that you were not paying attention—to traffic lights, speed limit signs, or other drivers—you are basically admitting that you were not following the law. An officer is unlikely to cut you break for being distracted, and if he or she does, there is a good chance that you will still get a ticket for a lesser violation;

Excuse #2: “You Didn’t or Couldn’t See Me Breaking the Law”

A police officer has a sworn duty to carry out his or her assigned responsibilities. If your best defense is that the officer who pulled you over was not doing his or her job properly, things are not likely to go well for you. You are probably not going to avoid getting a ticket by insulting the officer, so it is best to leave this excuse unspoken.

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suspended, Arlington Heights traffic violations attorneyImagine this scenario: You have had your driver’s license suspended. Perhaps a series of unpaid parking tickets or citations for moving violations such as speeding led to the suspension. Whatever the reason for the suspension, you now have no way of getting back and forth to work. One day, you miss the bus and decide that you will drive your car even though you do not have a valid driver’s license anymore. On the way to work, you are pulled over for a broken taillight and the police officer finds out that you have driven on a suspended license. You may be facing steep fines and even jail time. Now what?

Reasons Your License Could Be Suspended

Driver’s license suspensions in Illinois can be the result of:

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infotainment, Rolling Meadows traffic violations lawyerBy now, most drivers are aware that using a cell phone while driving is a dangerous proposition. Public awareness campaigns around the country have been urging drivers for years to put their phones down when behind the wheel for the sake of the safety. In addition to being unsafe, using a hand-held cell phone while driving is also illegal in many jurisdictions, including Illinois. If you are caught using a hand-held electronic device for talking or texting, you can be cited and fined up to $75 for a first offense.

Understanding the Law

That statute that governs the use of cell phones while driving in Illinois actually applies to a wide range of “electronic communication devices,” including personal digital assistants (PDAs), electronic tablets—such as iPads—laptop computers, and of course, “hand-held wireless telephones.” The law expressly states that the limitation on the use of electronic devices while driving does not apply to GPS devices, navigation systems, or any “device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.”  Unfortunately, systems that fall into the last category have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the dangers are only growing.

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pulled over, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyIn a previous post on this bog, we discussed some of the ways you can make your experience with the police go smoother and more efficiently when you are pulled over for a traffic violation. Nearly every person who drives a motor vehicle will get pulled over by police at some point. For some, it will be caused by something as minor as a broken taillight, while others will have more dramatic encounters with police. If you are ever pulled over by police, take the following steps to ensure that you do not make the situation more dangerous or difficult than necessary.

Do Not Exit the Car Without Being Told to Do So

Tension between police and citizens have never been higher than in recent years. Prominent cases of alleged police brutality receive copious media attention. For example, many have attributed the 2014 death of Eric Garner to the New York City Police Department. Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri led to the public looting of businesses, vandalism of vehicles, arson, first responders being shot at, and violent conflicts between protestors and police.

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