Governor Rauner has signed House Bill 1453, which amends the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code to allow court supervision for first-time offenders who are charged with aggravated speeding (over 26 mph over the limit).
Here is the official summary:
Amends the Unified Code of Corrections. Provides that an order of supervision is not available to a defendant charged with speeding 26 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit established under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance if the defendant has been: (1) previously convicted for that violation or a similar provision of a local ordinance or any similar law of another state; or (2) previously assigned supervision for that violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance or any similar law of another state (rather than not available for a first-time offender).
Under the new law, supervision will not be permitted if the aggravated speeding occurred in a construction zone or in an “urban district.” The new law will go into effect January 1, 2016.
So why is this important?
Under the current law, aggravated speeding is either a Class B (26-34 miles over the limit) or Class A misdemeanor (35 or more mph over the limit) and not eligible for supervision.
Illinois law defines “supervision” as “a means of disposition and revocable release without probationary supervision, but under such conditions and reporting requirements as are imposed by the court, at the successful conclusion of which disposition the defendant is discharged and a judgment dismissing the charges is entered.” 730 ILCS 5/5-1-21.
One court has stated that “the status of a case under an order of supervision then becomes in the nature of a continuance until the conclusion of the period of supervision whereupon the court shall discharge the defendant and enter a judgment dismissing the charges if the defendant successfully complied with the conditions of supervision.” The Illinois Supreme Court has held that supervision is not a conviction.
Supervision is a permissible sentence for most Class A misdemeanors, at least for the first offense. So offenses such as battery, retail theft, DUI or reckless driving have been “supervision eligible” but speeding was not. The result is that for a “crime” most commonly committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens, (most often young drivers) would result in a harsher sentence than the typical misdemeanor, and they would become a convicted criminal merely for going 81 on the interstate.
This change in the law is only common sense. My only suggestion is that the law should be even more lenient, and allow for a sentence of supervision for this offense so long as the motorist has not had a similar offense within the past five or ten years.