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Can Your License be Suspended for Texting and Driving in Illinois?

June 3rd, 2019 at 5:12 pm

IL defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerThe last week of April was Distracted Driving Awareness Week in Illinois, and troopers all across the state participated. Over the seven-day span, they issued a total of 566 distracted driving tickets. The campaign could not have come at a better time, as drivers in Illinois are about to face much steeper penalties if they regularly text and drive.

Current Illinois Law on Texting and Driving

Currently in Illinois, it is illegal for any driver to use a handheld device while driving. This is covered under the statute 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2. This law, which is one of the stricter distracted driving laws in the country, states that no driver shall hold a cellphone or electronic device, including tablets, while they are behind the wheel of a car that is moving.

Under this law, there are only a few instances in which the use of an electronic device is legal. These include:

  • If the device is built into the car, such as a GPS;
  • When using a phone to call for emergency assistance;
  • When a cell phone is in hands-free mode, or the driver is using a headset;
  • Using a phone while parked on the shoulder of the road;
  • Using a phone on the roadway if the flow of traffic has stopped and the vehicle is in park or neutral; and
  • Using a single button on a cellphone to start or stop a call.

Anyone found using a cell phone for any reason, or in any manner, other than those described above faces penalties. Those penalties are also about to become much steeper.

Current Penalties for Texting and Driving

The penalty for texting and driving is $75 if it is the driver’s first offense. This increases to $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth and subsequent offense. In addition to these, the driver will also have to pay court costs. For example, in Rolling Meadows drivers can expect to pay anywhere from $179 to $214 in court costs. This makes the penalty for even a first offense around $300.

While these penalties are currently in effect, they are only going to last for another couple of months. After that time, drivers that are caught texting and driving will face even greater penalties.

New Penalties for Texting and Driving are On the Way

As of July 1, 2019, distracted driving will be considered a moving violation. This is different than the summary offense classification they currently fall under. While the $75 fine for a first offense will still apply, those caught in subsequent offenses will face more than just increased fines.

When the new law goes into effect this summer, those convicted of driving while distracted will have their driver’s license suspended if they have three moving violations within a period of 12 months. Those under the age of 21 face even harsher penalties under the new law. If they are convicted of two moving violations within a 24-month period, their license is suspended.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer and Keep Your License

In order for a driver’s license to be suspended, the driver must first be convicted of the violation. A lawyer can help drivers fight the charges and keep their license.

If you have been charged with a moving violation and now fear license suspension, a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help keep it off your driving record. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to learn about the many possible defenses that are available, and how we will use them to give you your best chance of success in court. Call now, or fill out our online form for your free case evaluation.

 

Sources:

https://khqa.com/news/state/illinois-state-police-issue-over-930-citations-during-distracted-driving-week

http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=91&GA=100&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4846&GAID=14&LegID=110209&SpecSess=&Session=

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