Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Speeding ticket? Get a lawyer

Last week I watched a McHenry lawyer represent two clients in Judge Wilbrandt's traffic court.

One of them, a female driver, 45, with no prior tickets in the McHenry court system, was in court on a speeding ticket for driving 71MPH in a 55MPH zone and getting nabbed by a sheriff's deputy on June 30.

Through a negotiated plea, she pled guilty to Unlawful Parking and ended up getting stuck at the payment window for a total of $285.00 in fine, costs and fees.

The other? Also, a female driver, 20, nabbed by a deputy for driving 73MPH in a 55MPH zone. And she got hit for $349 total in fines, costs and fees. What did she plead guilty to? Unlawful Parking!

Her driving history is a little different. According to court records, here is her traffic ticket history in McHenry County:

4/30/10 by Illinois State Police; speeding 15-20MPH over limit. Nolle prossed today.
3/29/10 by MCSD. Pled guilty today to Unlawful Parking
12/1/09 by Illinois State Police
10/3/08 by Crystal Lake PD
7/7/08 by Illinois State Police
7/1/08 by Richmond PD
6/2/08 by McCullom Lake PD
5/7/08 by Wonder Lake PD
3/3/o8 by McHenry PD

I wonder whether the judge bothered to look at her driving history before accepting the plea to "Unlawful Parking." Why did he dump the 4/30/10 ISP ticket as part of the deal?

The lawyer was in front of the judge for about a minute.

About 4-5 years ago I watched the same lawyer in front of a judge in the McHenry branch of traffic court, and a bunch of kids walked on under-age drinking tickets by pleading guilty to illegal parking and $100 fines. The kids were laughing about it before they even got out of the courtroom.

Why does the State's Attorney's office participate in these deals? Sure, they get a Gold Star for a conviction, but what price will the People pay later on?

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