In Illinois speeding from 1-25 mph over the limit is classified as a petty offense and is punishable by fine only. However, many individuals are not aware that speeding 26-34mph over the limit is considered a criminal offense (Class B misdemeanor) punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500 plus Court costs. The penalties potentially worsen when a motorist is caught exceeding the speed limit by 35mph or more as such an offense is considered a more serious crime (Class A misdemeanor) punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 plus Court costs. A motorist who is convicted of misdemeanor speeding will have a criminal conviction on his or her record which may need to be reported on future job or housing applications.
When charged with misdemeanor speeding (Aggravated Speeding) it is prudent to retain the assistance of a qualified traffic attorney. The attorney should aspire to avoid a conviction on his or her client’s record by seeking a disposition of Court Supervision and in some cases convincing the prosecutor to reduce the speed so as to reduce the charge and reclassify the case as a petty offense. Supervision dispositions are not considered convictions and generally are not reported to insurance companies and do not cause rate increases. Moreover, a Supervision disposition on the offense of Aggravated Speeding will not cause one’s Illinois driver’s license to be suspended. The outcome is even better if the attorney is able to negotiate a reduced speed and have the case reclassified as a petty offense. Factors that are usually taken into consideration by prosecutors in deciding when to reduce a charge include but are not limited to: (1) age; (2) driving record; (3) politeness toward the ticketing officer; (4) military service; (5) charity work; (6) educational background; (7) employment background; (8) family support obligations and (9) any unique hardships the defendant may have.