Can I Get A Traffic Conviction Expunged As Per The New Traffic Laws?
Expungement is a whole separate proceeding, but there are many other possibilities in Illinois; sometimes, we can go back and file to reopen a case, if we have a viable defense within two years. For example, if someone had three speeding tickets and they just paid all three, and a few months later, they get a notice from the Secretary of State advising them, because they had three tickets in a year, they’re suspending their license for six months, starting in 30 days. If these people call me, I can usually change one of those convictions into a court supervision case, which means they only have two now, and their license won’t be suspended.
Even if it’s beyond two years, I still may be able to help; I’ve gone back much further than that at times, although it depends on the particular prosecutor and whether they’re willing to work with you. Many are compassionate and will work with us, while some are not. That’s why you need a good attorney on your side; many of us can help you out.
You never want to just pay the ticket because, if you do, it just goes on your record, or they may send you an envelope and say you don’t have to go to court, you just plead guilty and ask for court supervision, but they won’t tell you that, if you had a prior court supervision, they won’t give it to you, so you’ll have a conviction on your record and you just screwed yourself. Not only that, but the conviction goes to the Secretary of State, who will keep track, which means you’re that much closer to being suspended, and your insurance company will raise your rates.
Expungement is usually for more serious cases, and you have to wait more than 2 years after the last date of court action before you can even start the process, and you have to go in front of the full circuit wherever you live and ask them to expunge it, which the state may or may not agree to.
Another possible option is sealing your record, rather than expunging it. Sealing the record has pretty much the same effect, because no one will see it, including your insurance company and employers. I’m not an expert on this, but I have a good co-counsel who is.
What are Some Misconceptions People Have About Traffic Law?
Many people believe that anything can be expunged, which is not true at all. Also, many people are under the impression that they can get court supervision if only their nice to the judge and they can show they have no prior record, which can be true, but it depends greatly on the judge and the state’s attorney. You have to know which are which, and when to move the case if you get a less friendly judge on your case.
That’s why it’s a great idea to hire the best attorney possible, which takes a lot more then looking them up on the Internet, because a lot of attorneys just want to take your money, and they don’t always know what they’re doing. Sometimes, you’ll ask a question of ten different attorneys and get ten different answers, and that’s largely because not all of them know what they’re doing. There is a lot of confusion, and the laws keep changing, which means you need an attorney who is up-to-date on that particular area of law, which means not choosing an attorney who usually handles divorces or bankruptcies.
Most attorneys don’t have time to keep up with the changing laws in every practice, and few attorneys will ever even try to handle every area of law, because it’s not possible to know everything and keep up to date on everything; they don’t get to know the judges or the courtrooms or the states’ attorneys, which means it’ll be harder to get a good result. Details are important, and only specialists know most of the details.
These are things many people don’t know, which is why they should talk to a few attorneys and get a good feel for them; check out their websites, but also look for reviews, and look them up at the Illinois Attorney Registration Disciplinary Committee, or ARDC, where you can find out if there have been prior complaints or disciplinary action, like a suspension or disbarment or something.
Be careful when looking at reviews, though; some reviews can be unfair; someone is upset because he spent a lot of money on the attorney and was found guilty, anyway. Even the best attorneys get some bad reviews, so take everything into account. Sometimes, an attorney can put on a great dog-and-pony show just to generate a large fee, so it’s worth doing your homework and looking at everything.
What About CDLs?
The level of competence and experience is especially helpful when it comes to those who hold acommercial driver’s license (CDL), because those drivers are subject to much stricter rules when it comes to traffic offenses, from DUIs to speeding tickets and everything else in between. Whereas court supervision, which keeps it off your record, might be good and fine for most people, if you have a CDL, and get court supervision, the Secretary of State will still knock points off your license.
However, an experienced defense attorney can work with the state’s attorney to get this amended to something that is not a movable offense, so the state can still get a fine, and you can be sent to traffic school, but because it’s not a moving violation, the CDL driver can continue to make a living.
I always advise anyone against getting a commercial driver’s license if they don’t need it, because the standards are higher on everything; the alcohol standard is such that you can’t have any in your system, for example. Also, if you have a commercial driver’s license, those higher standards apply even when you’re driving your private vehicle.
If you absolutely must have one, you have to live with it, but if it’s not mandatory, keep a regular license, it’ll save a lot of stress. It’s much more feasible and much more doable to get things done properly and keep you out of trouble and keep you from being suspended if you have a normal driver’s license.
For more information on Expungement of Traffic Convictions, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.