Scott Gillen was a firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department providing assistance at a crash site. Tragically, a drunk driver struck and killed Scott while he was performing his official duties. In response to this unfortunate death, Illinois enacted Scott’s Law.
Sometimes referred to as the “Move Over” law, this rule requires drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching certain emergency or construction vehicles. Any driver who violates Scott’s Law will face a steep fine structure. If the violation involves harm or injury, there can be jail time and license suspension, as well.
What are the Requirements of Scott’s Law?
625 ILCS 5/11-907 establishes the requirements of Scott’s Law. Under this section, all drivers must do the following when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle,
- Reduce their speed;
- Operate their vehicle with caution; and
- Move over at least one traffic lane.
In this context, the term authorized emergency vehicle has a specific definition. This term applies to any vehicle with legally equipped lights that flash, rotate, or oscillate. Furthermore, the owner or operator of the vehicle must be performing their official duties. Authorized emergency vehicles include but are not necessarily limited to:
- Police cars;
- Fire engines;
- Ambulances; and
- Construction vehicles.
What are the Penalties for Violating Scott’s Law?
Starting January 1, 2020, there will be a new penalty structure for violations of Scott’s Law. At a minimum, violations of Scott’s Law have the following punishments:
- First Offense — Business offense punishable by $250 to $10,000 in fines; or
- Second or Subsequent Offense — Business offense punishable by $750 to $10,000 in fines.
That being said, there are special considerations in place for certain types of violations. Any person who violates Scott’s law and inflicts:
- Property Damage — Is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, which is typically punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines; or
- Physical Injury or Death — Is guilty of a Class 4 felony, which is typically punishable by a maximum of three years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
Certain violations of Scott’s Law are also subject to a period of driver’s license suspension. Though the applicable suspension period changes based on the circumstances of the offense. For example, violations involving:
- Property Damage — Result in a suspension period of 90 days to one year;
- Physical Injury — Result in a suspension period of 180 days to two years; or
- Death — Result in a suspension period of two years.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at email@example.com or by completing an online form.