So I was driving one night in Illinois after going to the gym and I was looking to grab something to eat. It was a little before 1 AM and the place I was driving was an older road and there were some sunken manhole covers. During one instance I saw it and what I did was I swerved a little bit into the yellow median (I was in the left lane in a two lane street) in order to avoid it and then went straight back into my lane. An officer saw me do this but I unfortunetly didn’t realize he was tailing me. Then as I approached an intersection the same there was another sunken manhole in the road and I went slightly into the only left turn lane when it started (There was nobody in the lane) in order for my car to go over instead of driving straight into it. Eventually the officer turned his lights on and gave me a 120 dollar ticket for improper lane usage. I tried to tell him what I was doing but he told me there was no sunken manholes. I was not on my phone or intoxicated and I have proof of this (He made a comment asking if I was during the stop but he didn’t write a separate ticket for it) and I went back and took photos of the manholes I was referring to. I have a clean driving record and I really don’t want to pay this 120 fine because I did nothing wrong so I was wondering if I have a strong case to get a not guilty verdict and will it end up negatively affecting me if I end up having to pay?
I depends on the county. Most counties would understand that if the driver was driving at 1:00 am in the morning, it is clear that the officer was primarily looking for a DUI. Since this not the case I would speak directly to the State’s Attorney that handles this or these type of cases. The problem is that he can still be convicted of improper lane use even for swerving within the lane. 4th District case law out of Bloomington, Judge Casey Costigan upheld in Springfield. In what county was this ticket issued? Otherwise, do ask for supervision to compromise and hedge your bets for no conviction.
Depending on how sunken the manhole covers were you might have a case, and depending on the prosecutor, they might just capitulate, but it’s probably to your advantage to seek out court supervision in a case like this. If you appear in court and request supervision, you should probably get it since you have an otherwise clean driving record. If you get through the supervision period (usually 90 days) without any other moving violations, the ticket won’t have any effect on your driving record.
Feel free to e-mail or call me if you have any further questions.