Earlier this year, Illinois joined several other states in the ountry that ban the use of hand-held cellphones for all drivers. While many people may think that the law is overly prohibitive, distracted driving is a serious issue and is responsible for thousands of accidents and injuries each year. Regardless of the merits or efficacy of the measure, the fact is that it is the law, and people who violate it can face significant fines and other penalties if they are caught, particularly if there is an accident or injuries involved with the violation. Fortunately, there are ways that a Chicago criminal defense lawyer can defend against cell phone ticket violations, and in some cases may be able to have the case against you dropped.
The Illinois Cell Phone Statute
The law prohibiting the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by drivers is found in 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2, which prohibits drivers from using an “electronic communication device” while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway. Under the law, “electronic communications devices” can include cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or a portable mobile computer, as well as other devices. The law does not apply to navigation systems that are integrated into a vehicle. In addition to using a cell phone or other device to communicate, the law prohibits the composing, reading, and sending of text messages as well. Currently, the only way a driver in Illinois may permissibly use a personal electronic device is if it has hands-free capabilities, such as a speakerphone function, Bluetooth integration with the vehicle’s sound system, or a hands-free headset. The fines associated with violating the law are as follows: