What are Illinois Public Traffic Records?
Illinois public traffic records are official documents containing information regarding drivers' road use. Government entities generate these files to keep track of road users, their behaviors on the road, and specific events relating to road use. In Illinois, public traffic records are the responsibility of the Office of the Secretary of State.
Different organizations use Illinois public traffic records for various purposes. The office of the Secretary of State, the Department of Drivers Services, uses them to regulate drivers on the roadways in the state by suspending, revoking, or canceling licenses of dangerous drivers. Insurance companies use public traffic records for calculating insurance premiums, and employers use these records to avoid liability from hiring undesirable persons.
Are Traffic Records Public in Illinois?
Yes. According to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, traffic records, like almost all other documents generated by governmental entities, are accessible to the public. However, under federal law, the Driver's Privacy Protection Act regulates access to Illinois traffic records to safeguard the interest of the bearers.
This law regulates how the information of persons contained in traffic records may be obtained and shared. Essentially, the public is restricted from viewing personal identifying information such as addresses on all traffic documents. Furthermore, whenever there is a request for a person's traffic file, the owner of the record is duly informed of the requester's name and the date of request.
What do Illinois Traffic Records Contain?
An Illinois traffic record shows information about the motorist, the interaction a motorist has had with the state's traffic laws, other motorists, and the state's traffic regulatory bodies. Therefore, Illinois traffic records typically include;
- Information about the driver's license
- Convictions for traffic violations such as speeding offenses and DUIs
- Accumulated points on the license due to traffic law violations
- A history of license suspensions, revocations, or cancellations
- A history of involvement in vehicular accidents.
Personal identifying information is not available on Illinois traffic records.
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Illinois?
Yes, citations for certain offenses appear on traffic records in Illinois, especially moving violations. Any moving violation a driver commits is reported to the Department of Drivers Services, and the violation appears on the driver's traffic record. In contrast, citations for non-moving offenses usually do not reflect on a road user's traffic record. This is a critical distinction between the two types of citations, making it more appealing for traffic attorneys to plead a moving violation to a non-moving one.
Types of Traffic Citations in Illinois
Traffic citations in Illinois are categorized as either moving or non-moving citations. Non-moving violations refer to traffic violations motorists commit while not in motion. Nevertheless, a non-moving violation may still occur while a vehicle is in motion. Some examples of non-moving violations in Illinois include parking in a handicapped spot, double parking, driving a car that is not road worthy, having faulty equipment, etc. Non-moving violations are predominantly traffic infractions and usually have light penalties.
On the other hand, drivers commit moving violations while the vehicles are in motion. These traffic trespasses are more severe, as there is a more significant potential to harm persons and properties. In Illinois, some instances of moving violations include speeding, reckless driving, DUIs, running red lights, following too closely, drag racing, etc. Moving violations may also be infraction violations which are minor offenses that cannot result in imprisonment. Meanwhile, the punishments for moving violations may include jail time and massive fines.
Illinois Traffic Citation Lookup
Courts in the county where a traffic violation occurs usually handle traffic citations. Also, most county courts have websites with sections dedicated to traffic offenses on which interested individuals may look up traffic citations for a fee. Logging on to the courts' website typically gives access to any traffic citation picked up in that county.
While a traffic citation might be available online, it may not be settled online. An indication on the traffic ticket issued usually clarifies if the motorist has to appear in court or not. For counties without online access, traffic citation requestors may have to physically visit the courthouses and make inquiries at the Offices of the Clerk of the Court.
How to Lookup my Illinois Traffic Records
Illinois traffic records are accessible in person, online, or by mail. Interested parties may submit physical requests to the local Driver Services Offices. However, requestors must tender identification documents for in-person requests and pay a service fee of $12.00. The requester fills out a request form for the traffic record and may wait to receive the record. Illinois traffic records are usually issued to inquirers within the same day.
The second means of request is by mail. Only the Office of the Secretary of State handles mail requests for traffic records. All traffic records requesters must complete the Driving Record Abstract Request Form. Applicants may then mail the completed request forms to the Office of the Secretary of State at IL Secretary of State, Driver Analysis Section, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy, Springfield, Illinois 62723.
The request letter should include the service fee of $12.00. After processing, the requester receives a copy of the record in about ten days.
It is also possible for interested persons to obtain traffic records online. Upon request, the requestor receives a soft copy of the traffic document in PDF format and may print the file. The service fee of $12.00 still applies when using this service, with an additional $1.00 fee for credit/debit card processing.
Illinois traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record.
Illinois Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in Illinois is any offense that occurs while operating a vehicle on a public road. This can include anything from speeding and running red lights to more severe crimes like DUI and hit-and-run. Depending on the severity of the offense, penalties can range from a simple fine to jail time.
In general, traffic violations are classified as either moving or non-moving offenses. Moving violations involve the actual operation of the vehicle, such as speeding or reckless driving. Non-moving violations, on the other hand, occur even when the vehicle is not in motion, such as parking illegally or having an expired registration.
Depending on the offense, penalties for traffic violations can vary widely. For example, a first-time offender caught speeding may only receive a small fine, while someone convicted of DUI can face jail time, a large fine, and the loss of their driver's license. Repeat offenders or those who commit more serious offenses will usually face harsher penalties.
Illinois License Plate Lookup
Illinois traffic records typically feature license plate information. License plates can help identify the driver of a car involved in a traffic incident or find out related information. To conduct an Illinois license plate lookup, the requesting party can visit the Illinois Secretary of State's website and check the car's registration information. The requestor will need the car's license plate number to look up the data.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Illinois
Traffic records are not available for free in Illinois. The only way of obtaining certified copies of a traffic record is by contacting the governmental agency in charge of this function, the Secretary of State's Driver Services Department. This department includes a service fee of $12.00 for any traffic record request, whether in person, by mail, or online.
Although certain third-party websites may also offer traffic records information for free, the information may not be correct or up-to-date. The most reliable traffic record information is the copy kept with the Secretary of State's Driver Services Department.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in Illinois
Traffic records show a motorist's history of violating traffic laws by displaying convictions for the driver's offenses. However, these violations have a specific duration when they appear on the motorist's record. The rule of thumb for the duration of the visibility of traffic offenses in Illinois is that the greater the offense, the longer it stays. An additional caveat is in place for holders of commercial driving licenses, causing traffic violation offenses to appear on the traffic records for even longer than regular driving licenses.
Typically, most traffic offenses in Illinois stay on the traffic records for about four to five years from the violation date. It may be as long as ten years from the conviction date for commercial license holders. This particularly applies to most moving violations, as these are the only violations displayed on a driving record. Violations that result in license revocation or suspension stay for longer, usually about seven years. Felony convictions remain on traffic files for 55 years from the conviction date, and drug-related offenses permanently stay on a driving record.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Illinois
Traffic records are public information made available to anyone through the Freedom of Information Act. This makes it entirely legal for various third-party websites to accumulate and publish this information online. However, websites carrying traffic records can also be petitioned to remove the information, and this option is totally at the discretion of the site administrators.
The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) tries to limit the potential privacy leak that such records' openness may generate by preventing the appearance of personal identifying information on traffic records such as addresses and social security numbers.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Illinois?
Yes, certain motoring offenses are included in criminal records in Illinois. Motoring offenses are classified as either civil or criminal offenses, and this designation is critical in determining if the offense appears on the motorists' criminal records or not. A criminal motoring offense is a severe violation. These offenses are tried in a court of law as a matter of criminal procedure, and the fact that the offense is traffic-related does not diminish the criminal action. Criminal motoring offenses reflect on the offenders' criminal record if a conviction occurs and on the violator's driving record, along with the accompanying points.