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One of the most exciting parts about turning 15 in Illinois is a driver's license (DL). It allows older teens to get around more easily, providing a sense of freedom. The state has something called the Graduated Driver Licensing Program, which allows teens to gain driving experience on the road and prove they are good drivers before “graduating” to fewer restrictions and more privileges.
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How It Works
The entire program starts at age 15. If parents/ guardians allow it, a teen must obtain an instruction permit. The teen must be enrolled in an approved driver education course and must pass vision and written tests. The permit must be held for a minimum of 9 months. During that time, the teen must drive for at least 50 hours (including 10 hours at night), supervised by a parent or an adult age 21 or older with a valid DL. Restrictions include the following:
- Curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday to Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday
- Must not incur any driving infractions, convictions, or court supervisions
- Passengers are limited to 1 in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat
- Use of cell phone/wireless electronic devices prohibited while driving
Once a teen turns 16, he or she can obtain a DL. A parent/ legal guardian must verify a minimum of 50 hours of driving practice was obtained, and he or she must accompany the teen to provide written consent to get the license. Alternatively, he or she can complete a notarized Affidavit/ Consent for Minor to Drive form. Additionally, the teen must complete a state-approved driver education course. Restrictions for this license include the following:
- A curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday
- No convictions for the first 6 months
- For the first 12 months, or until the teen turns 18, passengers limited to 1 person under 20 years of age, unless the passenger(s) are immediate relatives
- Use of cell phones/ wireless electronic devices while driving is prohibited
Penalties for moving violation convictions depend on the phase and severity of the charge. During the permit phase, a teen driver can obtain court supervision for a traffic violation and must attend traffic safety school. Likewise, this supervision can only be granted once for serious driving offenses. Moving violations can result in a 9-month waiting period before applying for a DL. Additionally, unresolved traffic citations may prevent an issued DL until the citations are resolved. If a person also violates the curfew, he or she may have their driving privileges suspended.
Penalties for the initial licensing phase is similar to the above; however, the following punishments could be given for moving violations also:
- Warning letter to parents and teenager
- 6-month extension of passenger limitation if the conviction occurs within the 1st year
- 2 violations within 2 years results in a 1-month DL suspension
If your license is suspended, you will have to attend a remedial education course, may have to retake the test, and must pay a $70 reinstatement fee. Likewise, violations of curfew may lead to driving privileges suspension.
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If you're accused of a serious traffic offense, make sure you have someone on your side. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Arlington Heights and the surrounding Chicago area are highly rated and are proud to provide outstanding assistance to people in need. Let us try and get the best possible resolution for your case.