Defending Against Speeding Within a School Zone Charges in Illinois
With the school term in full swing, it is important for drivers to be aware of certain school zones located along their routes. Illinois has a law against speeding in school zones, and offenders may be penalized for traffic violations, including facing fines and possible jail time. It is imperative for drivers to be aware of the specific speed limits when driving near schools in order to avoid a traffic ticket or an accident.
Illinois Law Against Speeding in a School Zone
The state of Illinois mandates that school districts clearly mark where their school zones start and stop with the use of street signs and markings on the road. Often, schools also utilize a crossing guard to stop traffic for students who are crossing the road.
According to the law, all school zones have a set speed limit of 20 miles per hour (mph) during school hours (usually 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., but times may vary by school). Drivers also must be aware that pedestrians have the right of way in school zones; they must always be alert for children who may be in a hurry to make it to class on time, and drivers should stop when appropriate.
Illinois law protects students at educational institutions such as:
Public or private schools
Primary or secondary schools
A school operated by a religious institution
A public, private, or religious nursery school
It is considered a petty offense when a driver is stopped for speeding within a school zone. First offenders will be punished by having to pay a fine of at least $150. Second and subsequent offenders will pay a fine of at least $300. The driver will also have to pay a $50 fine to the school district for safety purposes.
The charge becomes “aggravated speeding” when:
A driver drives 26-35 mph over the school zone speed limit. This is a Class B misdemeanor offense.
A driver travels at more than 35 mph over the school zone speed limit. This is a Class A misdemeanor offense.
If a person--child or adult--is struck by a vehicle that is speeding within a school zone, the driver will not only face these punishments, but they may also be liable for injury, damages, and wrongful death of the victim.
Defending Traffic Tickets
After being issued a traffic ticket for speeding in a school zone, the driver could see his or her auto insurance prices skyrocket, points added to his or her driver’s license, and the requirement to pay the fines listed above.
If a driver believes that the ticket was issued incorrectly, he or she could try to go to court to reduce the punishments. The best way to do that is to hire a lawyer and collect the proper evidence:
On the issued ticket, note the time of date and exact location in which the alleged violation occurred.
Take a camera to the location of the traffic stop and locate the school zone markers. If there are none in the location the stop took place, the vehicle was not in the school zone and would not need to maintain the school zone speed.
Talk to the school office to find out what hours of the day the school is in operation.
Find out what the non-school zone speed limit is for the area where the stop occurred. If that limit was not violated, the ticket could be contested.
None of these methods guarantee the reduction of speeding charges, but it helps to have all the evidence put together and presented to the court by a knowledgeable attorney.
Contact a St. Charles Traffic Violation Defense Attorney
Speeding within a designated school zone can carry steep penalties in Illinois. If you or someone you know believes that you were issued a traffic ticket unjustly, you may be able to have the charges reduced or dropped altogether. The lawyers from the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa can help defend your case and keep your driving record intact. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Illinois speeding ticket defense lawyers, call our office today at 630-232-1780.