Today, Governor Quinn signed a new law which allows motorists to sign traffic citations in lieu of having to post their driver’s license as a bond. This is a great convenience for motorists, who would otherwise be left without their most common form of identification, as well as for police departments and court clerks, who will not have to handle and safeguard these valuable cards.
The new law is Public Act 98-0780, which states as follows:
(625 ILCS 5/6-308 new)
Sec. 6-308. Procedures for traffic violations.
(a) Any person cited for violating this Code or a similar
provision of a local ordinance for which a violation is a petty offense as defined by Section 5-1-17 of the Unified Code of Corrections, excluding business offenses as defined by Section 5-1-2 of the Unified Code of Corrections or a violation of Section 15-111 of this Code, shall not be required to post bond. When required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule, the person shall sign the citation. All other provisions of this Code or similar provisions of local ordinances shall be governed by the bail provisions of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules when it is not practical or feasible to take the person before a judge to have bail set or to avoid undue delay because of the hour or circumstances.
(b) Whenever a person fails to appear in court, the court
may continue the case for a minimum of 30 days and the clerk of the court shall send notice of the continued court date to the person’s last known address. If the person does not appear in court on or before the continued court date or satisfy the court that the person’s appearance in and surrender to the court is impossible for no fault of the person, the court shall enter an order of failure to appear. The clerk of the court shall notify the Secretary of State of the court’s order. The Secretary, when notified by the clerk of the court that an order of failure to appear has been entered, shall immediately suspend the person’s driver’s license, which shall be designated by the Secretary as a Failure to Appear suspension.
The Secretary shall not remove the suspension, nor issue any permit or privileges to the person whose license has been suspended, until notified by the ordering court that the person has appeared and resolved the violation. Upon compliance, the clerk of the court shall present the person with a notice of compliance containing the seal of the court, and shall notify the Secretary that the person has appeared and resolved the violation.
This new law does not apply to any traffic offense which is a misdemeanor, such as aggravated speeder (25 mph over the limit), drag racing, driving while suspended, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident or DUI.