Legally, a police officer cannot pull over your car without some reason. This can come in the form of community caretaking, such as when the officer sees you sleeping in your car and checks to see if you are OK. Otherwise, the officer has to have some kind of probable cause.
And speeding can give the officer just the starting point he or she needs to arrest you for something else.
In Illinois, speeding more than 31 miles over the limit was recently made a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine. Speeding more than 40 miles over the limit became a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Too many tickets in too short a time, and you can lose your license.
But besides dealing with what is now a potential misdemeanor, speeding can give a police officer the opportunity to look for evidence of other crimes. Did you have a few drinks? A stop for speeding now turns into a DUI. Were there some marijuana seeds or white powder on the floor of your car? If they were in plain view, you’re looking at drug possession. And once you’re arrested for that, anything else they find in the car could be used against you.
Of course, you can be stopped for other traffic ticket offenses or moving violations besides speeding. “Improper lane usage” is a rather vague term that gives an officer the wedge he or she needs to pull you over.
If you have been drinking, stay away from the steering wheel. But if you are stopped and charged with speeding and/or another crime, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate your case to develop the best possible strategy for our defense. If police mishandled the stop, an attorney can bring a motion to have the entire case thrown out.
Do not talk to the police or anyone else about your situation. We have seen clients explain themselves into a conviction. You do have a right to refuse the breathalyzer and field sobriety tests, although the Secretary of State will suspend your license for a greater period of time if you do.
If you have questions about this or another related 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.)