Milwaukee Summerfest Overview and Special Warnings to Illinois Drivers
The Milwaukee Summerfest is one of the best known and largest musical festivals in the world. It runs almost ten days long over two weekends, culminating with spectacular Third and Fourth of July Festivities. This festival draws attendees from around the world, but the focus of this blog will be on the Illinois attendees at Summerfest. Depending on where an Illinois driver is coming from they will inevitably be on the highways of Wisconsin heading to and from Summerfest. Law enforcement is on heightened alert not only in the Milwaukee area, but in other towns such as Racine and Kenosha and Lake Geneva as well. It is not uncommon for an Illinois driver to get a speeding ticket or worse a OWI in Wisconsin or DUI as they are known in Illinois based on allegations of drunk or intoxicated driving. The purpose of this blog is to outline what to do and what not to do if you are arrested or ticketed on the way to Summerfest or on the way home.
Getting Pulled Over in Wisconsin on the way to Summerfest or on the way home
You are headed to or on the way home after a trip to Milwaukee or another Wisconsin city on I-94 and near Racine or Kenosha or Lake Geneva and you suddenly see lights from a squad car behind you, now what? The best course of action is to pull over as soon as possible and as far over into the shoulder as possible for the safety of the approaching officer. This will demonstrate you are quickly responding to the officer’s authority. Next, sit and wait for the officer to come to you with your hands at the top of the steering wheel and do not get out of you car as that action will put an officer on the defensive. When approached remain polite and do not argue with the officer about the speed if he tells you how fast you were going. Often the officer may exercise discretion and write you a ticket for lower than the speed you were traveling if it is a borderline call. This may in turn make it easier to have a chance at reducing the ticket to an alternative violation that will not affect your Illinois Driver’s License or Insurance rates. Do not pay the ticket when you get home regardless of what the officer tells you. I have had many Illinois clients tell me a well intentioned Wisconsin police officer advised them a speeding ticket was a minor offense and that if paid would not affect their Illinois Driver’s License. While most speeding tickets in Kenosha or Racine, Wisconsin are considered minor non-criminal forfeitures for Wisconsin drivers the impact and consequences are much greater for and Illinois Driver who gets a speeding ticket in Kenosha or Racine. It is not the Wisconsin police officer’s job to advise you on the legal consequences of a speeding ticket in a neighboring state, that is my job as an attorney licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
What Are the Consequences of a Wisconsin Speeding Ticket for an Illinois Driver?
Unlike Illinois, the Wisconsin legal system does not recognize the concept of court supervision, thus every citation concludes with a conviction, dismissal or finding of not guilty after a trial. Various speeding ticket violations can result in point assessments between zero to six points depending on the severity of the offense. The three categories of speeding offenses are as follows: Speeding (1-10 mph over the limit) three points, Speeding Intermediate (11-19 mph over the limit) four points, and Speeding Excess (20 miles or more over the limit) six points. An Illinois driver must be concerned with a speeding ticket conviction being entered against them and a report of that conviction making its way to the Illinois Secretary of State and their Insurance company. The Illinois driver who has a Wisconsin ticket should not focus on the points scheme but rather attempt to obtain a category of violation that is not reported to the Illinois Secretary of State, which our office will seek to secure on your behalf. These amended violations will not affect the Illinois driver’s license and will not result in inflation of a driver’s insurance premiums. A failure to secure a non-reportable charge in Wisconsin will often result in an Illinois driver having a conviction for a moving violation on their record for a speeding offense that would have been a court supervision had it occurred in Illinois.
What Can a Criminal Defense Attorney do for an Illinois Driver With a Speeding Ticket in Wisconsin?
As I already mentioned in the summertime and especially around Summerfest time the Wisconsin Police encounter Illinois licensed drivers in the course of an traffic stop or accident and if alcohol is involved an Illinois driver can end up facing an OWI charge. First and foremost, do not automatically pay the ticket or your Illinois license may be revoked indefinitely. The laws of Illinois and Wisconsin could not be more different when it comes to drunk driving and if you are charged with an OWI you need a criminal defense attorney who knows not only Wisconsin OWI laws but more importantly the laws of Illinois and how the Illinois Secretary of State views an OWI conviction from Wisconsin or any other state. I take great pride in providing my Illinois clients with comprehensive representation on a Wisconsin OWI case and my representation does not end at the border. I evaluate the evidence in each case and propose the best strategy for the OWI case in Wisconsin and also the Secretary of State penalties in Illinois that often occur and surprise Illinois drivers. As an Illinois and Wisconsin OWI and DUI Defense Attorney I have been featured in the May 2013 “Docket” Publication, a Lake County Illinois Bar Journal. For a more thorough discussion and explanation of Wisconsin OWI penalties for Illinois Drivers please read my article on Illinois Drivers and Wisconsin OWI offenses here on pages 18-19: http://www.lakebar.org/images/stories/pdfs/docket/vol_2003_may_2013.pdf
Why do I Need a OWI or DUI Defense Attorney Licensed in Both Illinois and Wisconsin?
If you are an Illinois driver with an OWI case in Wisconsin you will face many important decisions in handling that case. The most important decision is finding the OWI or DUI defense attorney best qualified to represent Illinois drivers who get an OWI or DUI in Wisconsin. There are certainly mainly highly skilled DUI and OWI lawyers in both Illinois and Wisconsin representing clients in their respective states, but if they are not licensed in BOTH states they may not feel the need to be as familiar with the laws of states outside their own jurisdiction. While handling some OWI cases in Wisconsin can be viewed as a quick and easy process when compared to DUI cases in Illinois the results for the Illinois driver can be devastating once the Illinois Secretary of State learns if there was a Wisconsin conviction. I provide a full outline to Illinois drivers with OWI cases in Wisconsin as to what they are facing in both Wisconsin and Illinois. The best course of action for a Wisconsin resident with an OWI is usually not the best course of action for a Illinois Driver with a Wisconsin OWI. As OWI and DUI cases can be very expensive due to not only attorneys fees, but also court costs and increased insurance premiums it makes financial sense to have one attorney licensed in both states versus two attorneys in both Illinois and Wisconsin for an OWI case. If you are an Illinois driver with an OWI case in Wisconsin please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today for a free consultation and case evaluation to learn what consequences you may be facing in Illinois and Wisconsin and what your individual options may be. You can reach the Richard Albanese law office at (312) 882-1973, by email at RichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com, or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.
It is unfortunate that many drivers in Illinois choose the quick and easy way out when it comes to speeding tickets they received in Wisconsin. The costs of an out of state conviction can multiply fast down the road. The consequences include potential suspension of driving privileges in Illinois, increased insurance premiums and further expenses involving the reinstatement of an Illinois driver’s license. Often times people have received bad advice or simply don’t know the law in Illinois regarding out of state convictions. Let’s explore the issues and consequences further.
THREE STRIKES AND YOUR OUT!
In Illinois, if a driver receives three convictions for any moving violations in a twelve month period, their license will be suspended in Illinois. Illinois law provides that a driver is eligible for court supervision twice within a twelve month period as well. Court supervision does not count as a conviction and will not cause a suspension of driving privileges. In essence you can get two supervisions and still have convictions to spare if the tickets are far enough apart and the prosecutors and judges are willing to grant the two supervisions without imposing a conviction. The imposition of court supervision also serves to reduce the risk of increased insurance premiums as these citations are not generally reported to insurance companies. Illinois traffic laws allow for momentary lapses in judgment with regard to speeding but for Illinois drivers who get ticketed in Wisconsin, the law may not be so forgiving.
NO SUPERVISION IN WISCONSIN!
Unlike the Illinois system, Wisconsin law does not recognize the concept of court supervision and thus EVERY disposition of a speeding ticket is a conviction when a guilty or no contest plea is entered. The imposition of a conviction against someones driving record most commonly occurs when an Illinois driver gets a Wisconsin speeding ticket and then just sends in payment. Once the ticket is paid the conviction is entered and then reported to Illinois where it becomes part of the driver’s record with the Secretary of State, unlike a Supervision disposition. Insurance companies will also be made aware of the conviction and increased premiums could result that stay in place for years, penalizing an Illinois Driver with added expense for years to come that all could have been avoided.
HOW THE RICHARD ALBANESE LAW OFFICE PROTECTS ILLINOIS DRIVERS
Although Court Supervision is not an option in Wisconsin there is still hope for complete relief for Illinois Drivers. Generally speaking, with proper representation most Wisconsin State and Municipal prosecutors are willing to reduce a speeding charge to a non moving violation when appropriate. The end result is that an Illinois Driver can pay a modified ticket in Wisconsin that will have no impact on their Illinois License. Once you have retained Richard Albanese you will not have to appear in court to contest your ticket, which saves not only a long trip back to Wisconsin from Illinois, but also saves time and the expense of having to take a day off work to appear on a citation. Please feel free to contact the Richard Albanese Law Office today at 312-882-1973 or at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com or at RichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com for a free consultation on your speeding ticket in Kenosha, Racine, Dane County, Lake Geneva, and any other city in Wisconsin.