In Illinois, traffic offenses are categorized into two main groups: major and minor offenses. Minor offenses generally include non-moving violations, like parking infractions or expired tags. While these can result in fines, they rarely lead to severe penalties unless a person gets several violations in a short period of time.
Major traffic offenses are serious violations that involve risky behavior and can potentially endanger lives.
Penalties for major traffic offenses
When we talk about major traffic offenses, we typically are talking about such crimes as:
- Driving under the influence (DUI
- Reckless driving
- Hit and runs
- Driving without a valid license
- Vehicular homicide
These offenses can lead to severe penalties, including hefty fines, probation, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, and even jail time.
For example, a first-time DUI conviction can lead to a one-year license suspension, up to one year in jail, and fines up to $2,500. For reckless driving, penalties can include a jail sentence of up to one year and fines of up to $2,500. More severe offenses, such as vehicular homicide, can result in a prison sentence of up to 28 years.
Importantly, penalties can increase with repeated offenses, such as a second or third DUI conviction coming with increased jail time, license suspension length and much higher fines.
Fighting traffic offenses with an attorney
Despite the gravity of major traffic offenses, it’s important to remember that you have legal rights. Remember, when faced with a major traffic offense, the stakes are high. It’s crucial to understand the potential risks and penalties and to seek professional legal advice to protect your rights and interests.
An experienced traffic offense attorney can help you understand the charges, explore possible defenses, negotiate plea deals, and represent you in court. The law is complex, but you don’t have to navigate it alone.