Texting While Driving: Illinois Law
Did you receive a ticket for texting while driving? How serious is it? Will your insurance premiums go up? Will your license be suspended? Isn’t it a simple traffic ticket? Sometimes, yes. Other times, you could face jail time. Do you want to know more? Watch this video that gives a two-minute summary version of this post. Or, keep reading for a more detailed explanation.
Electronic Communication Devices
While “texting while driving” is the most common ticket that people get, technically, Illinois does not have a specific “texting while driving” law. The subject of texting while driving is actually part of the “Electronic Communication Devices” law under 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2. Under this law, you cannot drive a car or other motor vehicle (i.e. motorcycle) on the road while using an electronic communication device. A cell phone, among other things that will be discussed in a later post, is considered an electronic communication device.
Texting While Driving: Fines and Court Costs
In Illinois, a ticket for texting while driving can end up costing you hundreds of dollars. If this is your first offense, and if there are no other aggravating factors which we will discuss later, the law requires that you pay a fine. How much will your fine be? The amount of your fine depends on whether this is your first time getting a driving while texting ticket.
FIRST TICKET: MAX Fine = $75.00
SECOND TICKET: MAX Fine = $100.00
THIRD TICKET: MAX Fine = $125.00
FOURTH TICKET (OR MORE): MAX Fine = $150.00
It is important to note that these are only the max fines for texting while driving tickets. In addition to the fine, courts typically add mandatory court costs. All of this can really add up to hundreds of dollars.
Texting While Driving: Jail Time
In addition to court costs and fines, texting while driving can lead to more serious consequences. Under 625 ILCS ILCS 5/12-610.2(b-5), there are two situations that could land you in jail:
- If you are texting on your phone and get into a car accident that causes someone to be severely injured, permanently disabled, or disfigured, you could face 364 days in the county jail.
2. If you cause an accident because you were texting and someone dies because of the accident, you face a felony conviction that has a max sentence of 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Besides the jail time in the last situation, there are two other things worth mentioning. You will be required to pay a minimum fine of $1000.00 dollars and your driver’s license will be suspended for twelve (12) months.
Should I Go To Court or Just Pay The Ticket?
Usually, the officer will write on the ticket whether you must go to court or if you can just pay the ticket. If you receive your texting while driving ticket in Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, or any other Northwest suburb in Cook County, you will likely have court in the Rolling Meadows Courthouse. If you receive your ticket in Waukegan, Park City, Mundelein, or any other Lake County town you may have court in one of the Lake County branch courthouses. When in doubt as to whether you need to go into court for the ticket, you should contact an attorney.
As you can see, if you get a ticket for texting while driving it can possibly lead to a lot of headaches. High court fines and costs, suspension of your driver’s license, or even jail means you should contact an experienced traffic defense lawyer to help you deal with this ticket.
The information in this post is intended for informational purposes only and cannot and should not be construed as legal advice to any party.