Traffic Tickets (Other Than DUI)

If you are at least 21 years of age and have been convicted of 3 or more offenses regulating the movement of traffic (at times inartfully referred to as "moving violations"), the Secretary of State may suspend or revoke your driver's license. The length of the suspension or revocation depends upon your earlier driving record and the "points" assigned to each of the tickets.

If you have no previous suspensions or revocations on your record and have not been convicted of a serious offense, you may be eligible for a probationary license if the Secretary of State suspends you for too many tickets. A probationary license allows you to drive during the suspension period without any restrictions. So long as you do not receive another ticket during the period of your probation, which usually runs 3 to 6 months, you avoid losing your license. If you have received a probationary license in the past, you are not eligible for another one. You do not need an attorney to obtain a probationary license. Simply contact your nearest driver's license facility for assistance.

If you are not eligible for a probationary license, you are entitled to request a hardship permit. You may wish to contact an attorney for assistance.

If you are under the age of 21 and receive 2 tickets regulating the movement of traffic in two years, the Secretary of State will suspend or revoke you, with the length of the suspension or revocation depending upon the seriousness of the tickets and your previous record. A probationary license is not available to someone under 21 years of age who is suspended or revoked for receiving 2 tickets in two years.

It is fairly difficult to obtain a work permit during an "under-21" suspension. Your first course of action should be to contact me to assist about having one of the two convictions that caused the suspension being removed from your record.

Zero Tolerance

A Zero Tolerance, or "ZT", ticket may be issued to you if you are under the age of 21 and the police suspect that you have been consuming alcohol. If the breath test shows any amount of alcohol in your system, even if it is well under the legal limit, or if you refuse to take the breath test, your license will be suspended. The length of the suspension depends upon a number of factors, including your BAC reading.

If you wish to contest a ZT suspension, you must do so through the Secretary of State formal hearing process. A hearing to contest is limited to a very few issues having to do with whether or not the police followed the proper procedures in arresting, testing and warning you.

If there is no basis to challenge the suspension, you are entitled to request a restricted driving permit from the Secretary of State. Before actually being given a hearing, you must contact the Secretary of State to obtain a Study Guide and after reviewing the Study Guide, you must take and pass a written test. In addition, you will be required to obtain an investigative alcohol and drug evaluation from an evaluator licensed by the State of Illinois. You must also prove that your inability to drive creates undue hardship, a topic that is discussed in the "Illinois Secretary of State Article" under the topic "Undue Hardship ".

Fraudulent Use of a License

The police may have caught you in possession of a fake ID if you are under 21. What we see most often in these circumstances is that the police issue one or more ordinance violations (a city ticket), particularly in Champaign, Peoria, Bloomington, Macomb, Charleston, Carbondale and other college towns. They may have said that as long as you paid the tickets, no action would be taken against your license. Unfortunately, that is usually not the outcome.

The police would have confiscated the fake license or ID. If you were lucky, they shredded it. If you were less fortunate, the police sent the fake license or ID and a "confiscation report" to the Secretary of State Fraudulent Review Unit. A few weeks later, you received (or will receive) a letter from the Secretary of State's Fraudulent Review Unit advising you that your license was (or will be) suspended for 12 months.

If you do not successfully contest the suspension, it will remain on your record for a period of 10 years. In such circumstances, the suspension arises separate and apart from whether or not you received a ticket and whether or not you were convicted of the ticket. The suspension is based upon the confiscation report.

You have a right to contest the suspension and must do so through a formal hearing. If there is no legal basis to contest the suspension, you have the right to request a work permit, in which case you will have to obtain an investigative alcohol and drug evaluation and prove undue hardship, a topic that is discussed in the "Illinois Secretary of State Article" under the topic "Undue Hardship ".

You cannot defend a false ID charge merely by claiming that you had not used the ID to purchase alcohol. You may have been carded at the door. You may have entered the bar and been carded by the bartender. You may have been seated at a table where alcohol was present and may not have had anything to drink. In all of these circumstances, if you were underage but had an ID in your possession that showed you were over 21, you will have a difficult time contesting the suspension.

Another non driving-related license offense, and one that the Secretary of State considers more serious than being in possession of someone else's ID, is being in possession of a fictitious or altered license or identification card. In other words, if you are in possession of a license that was created by somebody other than a licensing authority, or if you are in possession of a license, whether yours or someone else's, that has been physically altered, you are in possession of an altered or fictitious license. You will be revoked for one year. Unlike a suspension, at the end of which you automatically receive your license, a revocation requires you to have a hearing before the Secretary of State and explain why he should return your license to you.

Another type of license fraud is providing false information when applying for your license, such as giving an incorrect birth date and/or social security number. The Secretary of State now has sophisticated computer software that can cross check this information against birth and social security records. Upon being caught, your license will be cancelled and your right to drive will be revoked for a minimum of one year.

A final non driving-related offense that can affect your license is a violation of the Liquor Control Act of 1934. In essence, if you are convicted of underage consumption and/or possession of alcohol that you somehow obtained without using fake identification, that conviction, if reported to the Secretary of State, will cause at least a one year suspension of your driver's license. This, unlike all of the previously mentioned means by which you can lose your license even though you are not driving, requires a conviction, so it is very important for you to obtain legal counsel before you deal with the ticket.

pixel image