Guide to Illinois Traffic Fines
The state of Illinois doesn't take traffic law violations lightly. If you are pulled over in Illinois, you could be facing some of the steepest traffic fines in the country for some offenses. You may want to know how much an Illinois traffic ticket is likely to cost if you live or travel in Illinois. This guide will help you to understand Illinois traffic fines and what kinds of penalties apply in addition to fines when you violate the rules of the road.
Please keep in mind that this guide is intended to give guideline numbers only, and that unless otherwise mentioned, all numbers you read in this guide are for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders can be given much higher Illinois traffic fines, and if you have been charged with several offenses or are a habitual offender, you may wish to speak to an Illinois traffic lawyer who can explain your legal options.
Civil Infractions vs. Misdemeanors
Most of the time, if you are pulled over for a simple traffic offense for the first time, you will simply be ticketed for a civil infraction. While the Illinois traffic fines associated with civil infractions can sometimes be steep, and while you can still have your license suspended or revoked for civil infractions, they never carry the possibility of jail time.
Misdemeanors are a more serious type of charge that is reserved for more severe or repeat offenses. In addition to paying Illinois traffic fines, you may also be required to go to jail for up to a year. DUI, for example, is a misdemeanor offense rather than a civil infraction. Sometimes, it is possible to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors that downgrades a misdemeanor charge to a civil infraction.
Getting caught speeding in Illinois can be extremely costly—moreso than almost anywhere else in the entire United States. Even if it's your first time being charged with a speeding violation in the state, you can owe up to $1000 in Illinois traffic fines. If your license already has accumulated points due to other violations, your license could even be suspended for a year.
If you travel more than 30 miles per hour in excess of posted speed limits, Illinois considers this speed to automatically constitute reckless driving. Under the state's reckless driving statute, this is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $2500 in Illinois traffic fines and up to a year in jail for your first offense. Typically, a first-time offender will not be given the maximum punishment without other, aggravating factors.
Driving While Texting
Since the beginning of 2010, Illinois has prohibited drivers from not just text messaging using their cell phones, but also emailing or browsing the internet. The fine for texting while driving in the state of Illinois is only $75, but if you are convicted of texting while driving three times in a year, your license can be suspended and the Illinois traffic fines you will be required to pay will increase.