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Scott's Law - The "Move Over" Law

Scott's Law, commonly known as the "Move Over Law", (625 ILCS 5/11-907(c), was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen, a Chicago fireman, who was struck and killed by a driver on the side of the Dan Ryan Expressway in 2000. Lieutenant Gillen was parked in the emergency lane assisting a few motorists who were involved in an accident. Scott's Law was passed in his honor to protect emergency workers responding to emergencies on the side of the road. Scott's Law has been updated and enhanced several times since it was originally enacted in Illinois. The most recent enhancement of the law was in July of 2019 when the fines and the penalties for violating Scott's Law were enhanced and increased.

The recent years have seen a sharp increase in the number of tickets and citations issued for violating Scott's Law. One of the main reasons for the sharp increase in the number of Scott's Law cases is due to the increased attention paid to accidents involving police officers and emergency personnel who have been injured and killed in roadside accidents. Whenever a police officer or emergency responder is injured or killed, the media attention results in an immediate increased enforcement stance taken by the police which always leads to a sharp increase in the number of Scott's Law cases in court.

Another reason for the increase in the number of Scots Law cases is that motorists are not adequately informed about what Scott's Law is and how to properly respond and react when encountering a stationary emergency vehicle.

What Is Scott’s Law?

Scott's Law applies to situations when you encounter a stationary (stopped) police or emergency vehicle upon the roadway that has its emergency visual and audio signals activated.  Common examples are when the police are stopped on the side of the road, a tow truck is stopped on the side of the road rendering assistance to a disabled vehicle, a fire truck or an ambulance rendering emergency assistance to a motorist. Whenever you approach such a vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road with its emergency signals activated, Scott's Law requires the following:

-Regardless of anything else, you must proceed with caution. This means that you should reduce your speed, and pay attention to your surroundings.

-You must change lanes if there is more than one lane in the direction that you are heading. If an emergency vehicle, or a police vehicle, are stopped in the right emergency lane, you must approach with caution, and if there is another lane heading in the same direction to your left, you must move over to the left lane if possible. Hence the term, “Move Over Law.”

-If there is only one lane, or if it would be unsafe for you to "Move Over", you must proceed with due caution. This means that you must reduce your speed and maintain a safe and proper distance until you have passed the emergency vehicles.

What is the Penalty for Violating Scott’s Law?

Fines

-1st Scott’s Law Violation:  Carries a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and a maximum fine of $10,000. In addition, you will be required to pay the mandatory court costs, plus pay a $250 fee to the Scott's Law Fund.

-2nd Scott’s Law Violation:  Carries a mandatory minimum fine of $750 and a maximum fine of $10,000. In addition, you will be required to pay the mandatory court cost, plus pay a $250 fee to the Scott's Law Fund.

License Suspension for Violating Scott’s Law

If you are convicted of violating Scott's Law, your driver's license will be suspended by the Illinois Secretary of State if the violation of Scott's Law resulted in property damage, or personal injury or death to another person. The length of your driver's license suspension will depend on the following:

-If the Scott's Law violation resulted in property damage only, your license will be suspended for 90 days.

-If the Scott's Law violation resulted in personal injury, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your driver's license or anywhere from 180 days to two years.

-If the Scott's Law violation resulted in death, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your license for two years.

Scott’s Law Criminal Charges

In certain circumstances, violating Scott's Law could lead to criminal charges. Typically, criminal charges are filed in Scott's Law cases when there's serious injuries or death that result from the violation of the Scott's Law statute. Prosecutors may file criminal charges in Scott's Law cases under the following circumstances:

-Property damage to another vehicle may be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of up to one year in County Jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500.

-If the violation of Scott's Law results in personal injury or death, prosecutors may charge you with a Class 4 Felony which is punishable by a potential prison sentence of one to three years.

Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle

Scott's Law applies to emergency vehicles that are stationary on the side of the road with their emergency audio and visual signals activated. Scott's Law does not apply to emergency vehicles that are moving on the roadway. If you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle that is using its emergency, visual or audio audible signals, you must yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle by moving to the right side of the curb if possible, and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Failure to properly yield to an approaching emergency vehicle may lead to a ticket for Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle, which is found under 625 ILCS 5/11-307(a).

James Dimeas Will Provide Effective and Aggressive Defense For Your Scott's Law Case

James Dimeas is one of the leading traffic law and Scott's Law attorneys in Illinois. James Dimeas only handles criminal and traffic cases. Unlike many other lawyers, James Dimeas has a unique understanding of the traffic laws. When most lawyers get a Scott's Law case, they take the easy approach and work out a convenient plea agreement for their clients. James Dimeas understands the strict requirements of Scott's Law and will look at every aspect of your case to see if there's a way to win the case. For instance, if the emergency vehicle did not have its emergency lights or sirens activated, you cannot be convicted of violating Scott's Law. If it was unsafe for you to "Move Over", you cannot be convicted of violating Scott's Law. Most lawyers think that Scott's Law applies to every case involving an emergency vehicle. That is clearly not the case. James Dimeas understands what the state has to prove to win a Scott's Law case and will look at every angle and every detail to try to win the case. Most lawyers will not do that. If you you want to protect your legal rights and your driver’s license, it's important that you consult and hire a lawyer that knows what they are doing. James Dimeas knows what he is doing.

Hire a Highly-Experienced Traffic Lawyer for Your Scott’s Law Case

James Dimeas is a nationally-recognized, award-winning, Traffic lawyer, with over 28-years of experience handling Traffic and Scott's Law cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, and Lake County. Recently, James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer in the State of Illinois for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021” by the American Society of Legal Advocates. James Dimeas was named a “Best DUI Attorney”, a “Best DUI Lawyer in Schaumburg”, and a “Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise. James Dimeas was named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Attorney Award for the State of Illinois”. James Dimeas is rated ‘Superb’ by AVVO, 10 out of 10, the highest rating possible for any DUI lawyer in the United States. The American Society of Criminal Law Attorneys named James Dimeas a ’10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction”. Attorney and Practice Magazine gave James Dimeas the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Award for Illinois”. 

If you are charged with violating Scott’s Law, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can speak to James Dimeas personally by calling 847-807-7405.

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