Not all traffic tickets are created and treated equally. While most Illinois residents may think traffic tickets are only given for speeding, this is not the case. The truth is that traffic tickets can be issued for a variety of reasons that can be broadly categorized under moving violations and strict liability offenses.
Traffic tickets can be given for moving violations and for non-moving violations. When traffic law is violated by a moving vehicle, it is called a moving violation. This can include running a red light, speeding or drunk driving. Traffic tickets are also given for nonmoving violations, such as parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a no-parking zone or driving with an expired muffler.
Strict liability offenses
Criminal intent need not be shown for a majority of traffic violations. The only thing that must be shown is that the driver engaged in the illegal act. For example, failing to yield, turning in a wrong lane, driving without headlights and failing to use signals are all strict liability offenses that could lead to traffic tickets.
Though traffic tickets are generally considered minor offenses and do not result in criminal convictions, they do have an effect on one’s driving privileges and insurance rates. However, they can escalate to a criminal conviction depending on the seriousness of the crime. For example, if someone leaves the scene of the accident or is involved in a drunk driving accident, it might result in a criminal conviction that stays on one’s criminal history.
It might be possible to contest one’s traffic ticket and reduce the fine and its effect on one’s driving record. Those facing traffic or criminal charges should consider understanding their rights with regards to defending themselves and an experienced attorney may be able to help them do so.