The Governor of the State of Illinois has approved Public Act 099-0212, effective January 1, 2016, which amends Section 5-6-1 of the Unified Code of Corrections and provides that a first time aggravated speeding offender is eligible for court supervision. Specifically, the amended Section 5-6-1 provides that when an aggravated speeding offender has not been previously convicted of, or assigned supervision for, a violation of Section 11-601.5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (“aggravated speeding”), a court may enter an order for supervision of that offender. This is significant because a disposition of court supervision avoids a criminal conviction appearing on the offender’s permanent record.
Prior Statutory Amendments Effecting Aggravated Speeding
On January 1, 2000, the first aggravated speeding statute became effective in Illinois. At that time, the aggravated speeding statute stated that a person who drives a vehicle upon any highway of Illinois at a speed that is 40 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit committed a class A misdemeanor. Beginning in 2011, the Illinois legislature started making a series of changes that reduced the minimum speed threshold for aggravated speeding and limited eligibility for court supervision for aggravated speeding offenders. The following summarizes those changes.
Changes to the Minimum Speed Threshold
January 1, 2011 – A provision was added making driving 30 miles per hour or more but less than 40 miles per hour in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit a class B misdemeanor.
January 27, 2011 – An amendment changed the 30 mile per hour minimum threshold to 31 miles per hour for a class B misdemeanor.
January 1, 2014 – An amendment (a) reduced the 31 mile per hour minimum threshold for a class B misdemeanor down to 26 miles per hour, and (b) reduced the 40 miles per hour minimum threshold for a class A misdemeanor down to 35 miles per hour.
Changes to Court Supervision Eligibility
January 1, 2011 – A provision was added making a person who was charged with class A aggravated speeding ineligible for court supervision.
July 1, 2013 – The limitation to class A aggravated speeding was removed, making all persons charged with aggravated speeding, regardless of their speed, ineligible for court supervision.
Court Supervision Now Available for First Time Aggravated Speeding Offenders
Effective January 1, 2016, any person cited for aggravated speeding that has not been previously convicted of, or assigned supervision for, aggravated speeding will be eligible for court supervision. Although this change does not effect the minimum speed thresholds for aggravated speeding, it does, however, lower the available minimum penalties for first time aggravated speeding offenders. As such, a first time aggravated speeding offender may now receive court supervision to avoid a criminal conviction appearing on the offender’s permanent record.
There is one caveat, however, a person charged with aggravated speeding when the person was operating a vehicle in an urban district remains ineligible for court supervision. An “urban district” is defined as “the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than 100 feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more.” 625 ILCS 5/1-214.