Illinois has some of the harshest laws in the country when it comes to texting and driving. Texting and driving citations are considered moving violations in Illinois, and if you get three or more moving violations in a year, you can actually lose your driver’s license. The fines also add up quickly, as the base fine for a first offense citation is $75 and easily hits triple digits when court fees are added. There’s also the possibility that the citation could affect your insurance rates.
When you consider all that you have to lose and that it’s often difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were using your phone behind the wheel, it should come as no surprise that more people are challenging the tickets in traffic court than ever before. Below, we explain how to put yourself in the best position to contest a citation for texting and driving in Illinois
Helping Your Case
The main evidence against you is going to be the observations of the officer who wrote your citation, but police also hope that you provide them with evidence during your interaction with law enforcement. You might try to get out of a ticket by saying you were only checking your phone to see the time or you were just putting it on speaker phone, but these aren’t going to fly with the officer. In fact, these statements will serve to hurt you if you’re going to contest your case. That’s statements are essentially admissions of guilt that you were in fact using your phone while driving, which is in violation of the law.
The best thing you can do for your case is to avoid talking about anything related to phone use when stopped by an officer who suspects you of texting while driving. They might ask why you were texting and driving or what you were doing on your phone in order to get you to admit to doing something illegal behind the wheel, but don’t fall for their tricks. Simply say that you weren’t using your phone while driving and that you are aware that using a phone behind the wheel is illegal. You are probably going to get a citation whether or not you admit to the action, but you certainly aren’t going to make it any easier to contest the citation if you tell the cop you were on your phone.
Once you’ve received the citation, read the ticket carefully to learn how to contest it. You can also bring the ticket into our office and we can advise how you should proceed. For first-time offenders without a history of driving violations, we will likely explain your best options for challenging the citation in court on your own, because there’s no sense in paying more money for an attorney over a relatively small fine. However, if you have other driving infractions on your record or there’s the potential that you could lose your license as a result of the ticket, we may advise that you hire us on to fight the ticket for you.
Aside from fighting the case outright, we can also see if we can negotiate a deal with the other side. You may be able to have the ticket dropped by taking a driving course or you can get the fines reduced. These are just a few of the options we’ll look into while also putting forth the best defense.
Illinois Texting & Driving Lawyer
So if you’ve been cited for texting while driving, be aware of the fines, insurance increases and the potential loss of your driver’s license that could be coming your way if you don’t contest the ticket. For a free case review and instructions on how we think you should proceed, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Appelman & Lloyd today.