A Lake County Criminal and Traffic Defense Attorney Explains the Consequences and Options for Speeding in A Construction Zone Ticket In Round Lake Beach, Park City or Mundelein Courts in Lake County, Illinois

RLB COURTHOUSE PHOTO

There seems to be one constant condition that drivers face in Lake County, Illinois, Construction. There are not only numerous construction zones on Interstate 94 that run directly through the heart of Lake County, but also construction zones on Highway 41 and more recently in and around lesser traveled roads near Round Lake Beach and the surrounding communities. I have noticed in my practice the Lake County Sheriff enforcing these construction zone laws more vigorously lately by issuing an increasing number of tickets for Speeding in a Construction Zone. Drivers often go to court in round Lake Beach or Mundelein or Park City without an attorney and plead guilty to these construction zone tickets without realizing the consequences, which I will explain in detail here.

FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF PLEADING GUILTY TO A CONSTRUCTION ZONE TICKET

The worst thing an uninformed driver can do is go to their first court date and plead guilty to a speeding in a construction zone ticket. Not only does the driver face harsher immediate consequences in fines and costs but also the potential for license suspension with another offense. The Illinois Law governing Speeding in a Construction Zone in Lake County Illinois can be found under section 625 ILCS 5/11-605.1, which I will provide a copy of in its entirety below. I would like to highlight the minimum fine of $250 per ticket, which does not include courts costs or the $125 hireback fund assessment bringing the total to $375 as we often see on the Construction Zone warning signs on the highway. In addition to these fines, costs and assessments a second offense carries a $750 minimum fine plus a $250 hireback fund assessment and additional court costs creating a situation where a driver will be liable for a ticket in excess of $1,000 minimum. In addition Illinois law provides that a second violation for Speeding in a Construction zone in Lake County Illinois will result in a 90 day driver’s license suspension. Additional consequences for having one or more of these tickets could also include increased insurance premiums over a period of several years.

IMPACT OF WORKERS PRESENT VS. NO WORKERS PRESENT IN CONSTRUCTION ZONE?

Some drivers believe the high fines and costs are only associated with Speeding in a Construction Zone tickets with workers present. This is not the case. The law does not differentiate monetary fines based on the presence of workers, however if workers were present as is often noted on the ticket it is a potentially aggravating factor that may cause a prosecutor to seek a higher fine or potentially not amend the charge depending on the circumstances.

WHAT CAN A LAKE COUNTY TRAFFIC DEFENSE ATTORNEY DO ABOUT MY SPEEDING IN A CONSTRUCTION ZONE TICKET?

An experienced Lake County Traffic and Criminal Defense attorney can save you not only time and money but may also save your license in certain situations. If you have a clean driving record I may be able to resolve your case with an amended traffic violation such as a regular petty speeding ticket without the Construction Zone language in the charge. Another tactic may be to set your case for trial and hope for a potential dismissal of the charge if the Prosecutor is unable to proceed with the case on the trial date. Please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free, detailed consultation on your Speeding in a Construction Zone ticket in Lake County at the Round Lake Beach courthouse or the Mundelein or Park City Courthouses. Richard Albanese can be reached at (312) 882-1973.

ILLINOIS CONSTRUCTION ZONE LAW

   Sec. 11-605.1. Special limit while traveling through a highway construction or maintenance speed zone.
    (a) A person may not operate a motor vehicle in a construction or maintenance speed zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit when workers are present.
    (a-5) A person may not operate a motor vehicle in a construction or maintenance speed zone at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit when workers are not present.
    (b) Nothing in this Chapter prohibits the use of electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of signs within a construction or maintenance speed zone indicating the zone, as defined in this Section, nor shall evidence obtained by use of those devices be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding, provided the use of the device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in the construction or maintenance speed zone.
    (c) As used in this Section, a "construction or maintenance speed zone" is an area in which the Department, Toll Highway Authority, or local agency has posted signage advising drivers that a construction or maintenance speed zone is being approached, or in which the Department, Authority, or local agency has posted a lower speed limit with a highway construction or maintenance speed zone special speed limit sign after determining that the preexisting established speed limit through a highway construction or maintenance project is greater than is reasonable or safe with respect to the conditions expected to exist in the construction or maintenance speed zone.
    If it is determined that the preexisting established speed limit is safe with respect to the conditions expected to exist in the construction or maintenance speed zone, additional speed limit signs which conform to the requirements of this subsection (c) shall be posted.
    Highway construction or maintenance speed zone special speed limit signs shall be of a design approved by the Department. The signs must give proper due warning that a construction or maintenance speed zone is being approached and must indicate the maximum speed limit in effect. The signs also must state the amount of the minimum fine for a violation.
    (d) A first violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $250. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $750.
    (e) If a fine for a violation of this Section is $250 or greater, the person who violated this Section shall be charged an additional $125, which shall be deposited into the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund in the State treasury, unless (i) the violation occurred on a highway other than an interstate highway and (ii) a county police officer wrote the ticket for the violation, in which case the $125 shall be deposited into that county's Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund. In the case of a second or subsequent violation of this Section, if the fine is $750 or greater, the person who violated this Section shall be charged an additional $250, which shall be deposited into the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund in the State treasury, unless (i) the violation occurred on a highway other than an interstate highway and (ii) a county police officer wrote the ticket for the violation, in which case the $250 shall be deposited into that county's Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund.
    (e-5) The Department of State Police and the local county police department have concurrent jurisdiction over any violation of this Section that occurs on an interstate highway.
    (f) The Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund, which was created by Public Act 92-619, shall continue to be a special fund in the State treasury. Subject to appropriation by the General Assembly and approval by the Secretary, the Secretary of Transportation shall use all moneys in the Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund to hire off-duty Department of State Police officers to monitor construction or maintenance zones.
    (f-5) Each county shall create a Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund. The county shall use all moneys in its Transportation Safety Highway Hire-back Fund to hire off-duty county police officers to monitor construction or maintenance zones in that county on highways other than interstate highways.
    (g) For a second or subsequent violation of this Section within 2 years of the date of the previous violation, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driver's license of the violator for a period of 90 days. This suspension shall only be imposed if the current violation of this Section and at least one prior violation of this Section occurred during a period when workers were present in the construction or maintenance zone.
(Source: P.A. 97-830, eff. 1-1-13; 98-337, eff. 1-1-14.)