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June 25, 2024

Small Town Speeding Tickets – Police Violating The Law – Know Your Rights

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 29, 2024

Illinois (ECWd) –

As you come into a small town across the state, there is commonly a speed limit sign requiring a reduced speed.  A common practice is for these small-town police to set up their radar trap just a few yards from those signs, some sitting just feet past it.

After speaking with numerous ticket recipients as well as witnessing small-town police across the state using radar within 500 feet of the speed limit sign we felt it was time to educate people on their rights and hopefully educate the police on proper operations about using electronic speed detecting devices.

What does 500 feet have to do with a speeding ticket?

“Electronic speed-detecting devices shall not be used within 500 feet beyond any such sign in the direction of travel; if so used in violation hereof, evidence obtained thereby shall be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding.”  625 ILCS 5/11-602

The statute on this does provide an exemption to school zones provided they conform to the requirements of section 11-605 of the Act.

“However, nothing in this Section prohibits the use of such electronic speed-detecting devices within 500 feet of a sign within a special school speed zone indicating such zone, conforming to the requirements of Section 11-605 of this Act, nor shall evidence obtained thereby be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding provided the use of such device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in such special school speed zone.”

So the next time you happen to get a ticket coming into these small communities, take note of where the police were in relation to the speed limit sign in the direction of your travel.  If they were within 500 feet of that sign in the direction of travel, electronic speed-detecting devices shall not be used.  The fact that they are using radar within those prohibited distances tells us the police, the very ones responsible for enforcing the law, are the ones breaking the law.

Our suggestion is to have a copy of the actual law in your vehicle along with your insurance and registration documents.  If you find yourself facing such a ticket, turn on your phone and record the conversation with the police.  Ask the officer how many feet past the speed limit sign they were at when he used his radar.  Get the exact spot on the record by taking photos of the location. If the officer was within 500 feet of the sign and issued the ticket anyway after informing them of the law, it tells you what kind of officer you’re dealing with.  At some point, you will need to measure the distance from the sign to where the officer was and then document that in an affidavit and bring it to court.  A passenger makes a great witness as well.

Don’t be surprised if the prosecutor, the local State’s Attorney or even the judge is not aware of the law.  I can tell you from personal experience in 1996, the assistant state’s attorney was perplexed as to why I wanted a jury trial for a speeding ticket.  I explained that I had every intention of exposing the illegal use of radar by the local police who were notorious for sitting in a private driveway just feet after the speed limit sign and issuing tickets for as little as 3 mph over the limit.  The prosecutor played lawyer and tried to tell me there is no such thing as illegal use of radar by police.  I handed her a copy of the state statute with the key language highlighted, and let’s just say the prosecutor had that, “wow, I could have had a V8″ look.  She dismissed the ticket after looking at my evidence, which included video, pictures, affidavits, and the actual law.

Know your rights as well as the laws that restrain those bound to enforce our laws.

 

 

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4 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 09:22h, 30 May Reply

    Interesting!

  • Mike Bumpus
    Posted at 06:01h, 01 June Reply

    I don’t have time this morning to research it, but I discussed this with a Sheriff once. I think this distance is affected by the presence of a speed zone ahead sign.

    • Kirk Allen & John Kraft
      Posted at 07:34h, 02 June Reply

      Nope. The warning sign is just that, a warning sign. The law is clear on this.

  • AYTONOHTON
    Posted at 12:36h, 24 June Reply

    Speeding tickets are issued by either a police officer lurking in a private driveway or side street or parking lot exit, etc OR by a speed enforcing video camera that is visibly located on the sidewalk. In most situations the distance bewteen the posted sign and the LEO or device who issued the citation is less than 500 feet. Problem is the process to “fight” this outweighs the hassle of properly documenting everything and even have to appear in a court/hearing to defend your case. What is also not clear in this otherwise very informative article are:

    1. Is this law applicable within the city of Chicago limits and its neighborhoods? Does this ONLY apply to small towns/villages in IL. Some Chicago suburbs for example are indeed small towns and/or villages.

    2. In how the law reads, the definition of the (posted) “sign” is a notice of the top speed limit, the presence of a speeding camera, both, or what?

    Thanks for what you do!

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