Speeding 40 mph over the limit in Illinois: Class A misdemeanor

by Sami Azhari on May 31, 2012

Speeding Ticket 40 MPH Over Cook County

The state of Illinois has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. A person who drives 40 miles per hour over the posted speed limit can be arrested, charged with a crime, and even put in jail. 625 ILCS 5/11-601.5(b).

Speeding 40 mph over the limit, years ago, was called aggravated speeding. If the name of an offense gives a sense of how serious it is, consider that most crimes that are described as “aggravated” are felonies (eg, aggravated battery).

There was a time in Illinois traffic courts when a ticket for speeding this fast would result in a fine, possible conviction, and possible community service. All of that changed in the last year due to increased attention to high speeders by the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets.

It is an annual tradition for lawmakers in Springfield to sponsor bills that increase the penalties for moving violations, and also increase the incidence of driver’s license suspensions imposed by the Secretary of State. If state lawmakers had their way, more and more people would lose their licenses for traffic offenses every year in the name of keeping the roads safe. Passing laws that make the roads safer is good for reelection, even where it unduly impacts an otherwise good driver and law abiding citizen.

Any person who gets a ticket for speeding 40 miles an hour over the limit is caught in this political show.

The minimum penalty for speeding this fast is conviction. A conviction is a permanent record, and it can be disseminated nationwide.

Speeding 40 miles an hour over the limit is a Class A misdemeanor. Other Class A misdemeanors include domestic battery, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence. Even though it is just a speeding ticket, it is treated the same as these crimes.

The maximum fine is up to $2500.

A conviction may cause the Secretary of State to suspend, and on rare occasions, even revoke driving privileges the offender.

It is common for motorists to go to traffic court and express their surprise when the judge tells them they have to hire a lawyer. It is not just common. It is a daily occurrence. The reason that courts want the defendant to be represented by counsel is courts want to preserve the right to sentence the offender to jail.

There is no better example of how traffic court has changed in recent times than the incidence of jail sentences for these tickets. Most lawyers who do defense work were waiting, observing how traffic court judges would handle these speeding tickets under the new law and media scrutiny. And suddenly, defendants got sentenced to jail in Cook County and DuPage County.

Court reporters suddenly were ordered to take records of the proceedings in field courts where, up until that point, no one had ever gone to jail.

So, the best advice for getting a ticket for speeding this fast is simple. Hire a good attorney.

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