Traffic Law Myths or Fact?

Dennis F. Dwyer is a seasoned Chicago DUI lawyer committed to protecting the rights of his clients.  His extensive experience with DUI law allows him to provide his clients with the top representation for DUIs in Cook County.

Myths about traffic laws and how to avoid tickets abound. It is important to know what is myth and what is fact. Can a ticket really get dropped just because the officer doesn’t show up in court, and do police officers really give out more tickets at the end of the month in order to meet quotas? Continue reading to dispel the myths and learn the facts.

Q: Are traffic tickets automatically dropped if the police officer does not appear in court?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: The prevalence of this myth likely stems from the fact that some people have had their traffic tickets dropped when the officer did not appear in court. Unfortunately for those that would like to give this myth a try, it is not automatic or typical. Some counties and states do not require the police officer to appear at the initial court appearance. If you plead not guilty, the judge may then choose a different court date for you to plead your case. In most cases when an officer is required by law to appear, the officer will appear. Even if the officer is required to appear, the judge may still prefer to reschedule the court date. Whether the judge drops the case will also depend on the severity of the ticket.

Q: Am I more likely to get a ticket at the end of the month when officers are attempting to fulfill quotas?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: While some places may still have small quotas for officers to meet in order to ensure that officers are working, many places have discontinued this practice. In fact in Illinois, police officers no longer have any quotas. Public Act 098-0650 discontinues the practice of ticket quotas in Illinois. Ticket quotas are prohibited throughout the state.

Q: Am I off the hook for my ticket if I do not sign it or if there are other clerical mistakes?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: Signing your ticket is not an admission of guilt on your part. It is just confirmation that you received the ticket. Any small clerical errors on the ticket, misspelled names or an inaccurate time are viewed by judges as small mistakes and will not cause the ticket to be dropped. Pretending that you didn’t receive the ticket doesn’t work either. Once the ticket is issued, it is valid whether you consent or not.

Q: Does claiming “radar inaccuracy” work as a good defense?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: This defense rarely works. Most likely the judge will ask for proof that the radar was inaccurate. Saying that the radar did not match your speedometer is not enough. In order to suggest the radar hadn’t been re-calibrated recently, you would need access to the calibration records. For that you would need to hire an attorney. While this may help you win the case, you will have to determine what will cost you more, paying the ticket or hiring an attorney. Either way, claiming “radar inaccuracy” is not an easy defense and rarely works.

Q: Is it true that traffic tickets do not transfer to other states.

A: MYTH

Just the facts: You can’t run away from traffic tickets. Most states are part of the Non-Resident Violator Compact and the Driver’s License Compact, which means they share information between states about traffic violations. While it is possible for small violations to get lost, in most cases fines and points will follow you no matter which state you are in. Your best option is to pay the ticket or seek legal counsel.

Q: Are “matching the flow of traffic” and “passing” good excuses for speeding?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: Law enforcement cannot pull over every car on the road. They have to choose one care out of the many as the example and warning to the rest. Even if everyone else on the road is speeding, that doesn’t make it okay. Whether you are “going with the flow” or not, you can still be pulled over and issued a citation if you are going over the speed limit. Similarly passing another car does provide an excuse for speeding either. Any time you go over the speed limit, you can be pulled over and issued a ticket. It is not recommended that you offer matching the flow of traffic or passing as excuses for speeding. Not only are they invalid excuses, but they are also an admission of speeding. Never excuse yourself for speeding since it is an admission that the speeding occurred. The only time you may want to try is if you are legitimately rushing because of an emergency, though it may not keep you from getting a ticket.

Q: Is it illegal to drive while barefoot?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: Despite popular misconception, it is legal in all 50 states to drive barefoot.

Q: Is it possible to keep my ticket off my record by paying a little bit extra?

A: MYTH

Just the facts: For some reason it has been rumored that if you pay just a little bit extra—just a penny to a few extra dollars—when paying your ticket, then the ticket will not get processed and stay off your record. The idea is that you send in your payment by mail or online, and then wait to get a refund check. Supposedly, if you never cash your refund check, the ticket does not get processed onto your record. This is not the case. There is no processing loophole to keep the citation from going on your driving record.

When in Doubt, Call an Attorney in Illinois

Whatever the situation, if you are in doubt as to the law or how you should proceed, call a Chicago Defense Attorney to learn if you need legal representation. Dennis F. Dwyer is a Criminal Defense Attorney that makes it a priority to stay on top of changing Illinois laws. Call his office today to learn whether he can help you.

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