Updated July 24, 2019
As of July 1, 2019, a first offense for texting or using a cell phone while driving is now a moving violation. Before the change in law, you would not receive a moving violation until the second offense.
Furthermore, as of July 19, 2019, the Illinois Secretary of State may suspend your driver’s license if your distracted driving resulted in bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement. In that case, you may also be charged a $1,000 fine.
The rest of the law essentially remains the same: You may not use an electronic communication device while driving. Such a device includes, but is not limited to, a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include GPS or a device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle.
Fines range from $75 for a first offense to $150 for a fourth or later offense. However, you can be charged with aggravated use of an electronic communication device, a Class A misdemeanor, if you cause an accident that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement. The charge becomes a Class 4 felony if your texting proximately causes a death.
The law does not apply if you are 1) reporting an emergency, 2) using your device in handsfree mode, 3) parked on the shoulder or 4) stopped in traffic with your car in park or neutral. Simply pushing a single button to begin or end a communication does not violate the law. Furthermore, the law does not apply to CB radio hams or first responders.
If you have been charged with a traffic offense, contact an experienced traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Were you simply hitting that single button to terminate a text? Was your car in park? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney can help guide you through court procedure and may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)