By David Colburn
Illinois drivers take caution: new legislation makes excessive speeding much more than just a petty offense. Whereas the punishment for driving 30-39 miles per hour over the speed limit was once a simple fine, the new law declares the offense to be a Class B Misdemeanor, according to Criminal Defense Attorney Lewis Gainor’s blog. By definition, the offense can now be punished by a maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine of $1500.
Driving 40 or more miles an hour over the speed limit is still considered a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of one year jail-time and a fine of $2500, but court supervision is no longer allowed for the offense. Court supervision provided the defendant with an opportunity to have the charge dismissed without conviction given compliance with the conditions of the sentence. According to the Illinois Government News Network (IGNN), conditions of court supervision often included traffic school attendance, community service, a greater fine and a brief probationary period of safe driving.
The bill, officially known as Senate Bill 3796, was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn on July 2, 2010 and actively went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Concerns of traffic safety and discouraging individuals from driving in excess of 100 miles per hour served as primary influence for the legislation: “These new laws will ensure that those who drive at dangerous and illegal speeds face serious consequences,” stated Governor Quinn.