My speeding citation has turned into a shit snowball.
November 30, 2009 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Please help me navigate a mess involving an expired car registration, a speeding ticket, a lost insurance card, a license held as bond and a omg I can't even think. This involves Illinois and Wisconsin.

1. My car is registered in Illinois and I have an Illinois driver's license. The registration expires today; the license is good for awhile.

2. However, I'm (technically?) a Wisconsin resident, in that I have a lease on an apartment there, but I work in Illinois and sleep half the week in Illinois and the other half in WI. This is meant to be as temporary as humanly possible until I can stay permanently in WI.

3. I did not renew the registration yet because I was planning to get my Wisconsin license & registration this coming Friday, and hopefully avoid getting caught for the next 3 days while it's expired. Before I can register it in IL I have to get an emissions test. Of course, there will now be a late fee.

4. I got stopped for speeding today in a suburb of Chicago, I could not find my insurance card, and so I received another citation for that & my license was taken as bond. My court date is at the end of December. My driving record is otherwise clean.

5. So, I can't register my car in WI or get my WI license until I have my IL license back, correct? It's my understanding that if you have a valid license in another state, you have to forfeit it to get a WI license. I don't know about registering the car.

6. What's the ABSOLUTE CHEAPEST yet legal way to handle this? I am broke, like really broke, and the thought of having to pay to register my car in Illinois and then re-register it in WI when I get my license back is really disheartening.

7. I am freaking out and not thinking clearly, see above about being broke.
posted by desjardins to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Why do you have to get your IL license back? Can you not just get a WI license right now and skip a step?

Here are the WI rules.
posted by ZakDaddy at 12:33 PM on November 30, 2009

I got stopped for speeding today in a suburb of Chicago, I could not find my insurance card, and so I received another citation for that & my license was taken as bond.

I don't know the exact process for this, but I believe you can easily get that ticket dropped before your court date if you have proof that you really were insured at that it was issued. I think there is a number to call printed on the ticket, but basically you just have to present the proof and they will drop it. Someone recently had a similar issue (in IL) and it was pretty clear that you don't need to go to court over not having proof of insurance. I'm not sure how having the speeding ticket or bond would complicate matters, but if you call the number on the ticket or show up at the address listed there you should be able to talk with someone who can explain the details.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2009

you can go to the secretary of state's office in illinois and get a duplicate drivers's license. they generally will give one to you without a hassle if you explain to them that you need to have your license for x, in this case, getting your car reregistered in wisconsin.

get the emissions test done, or register the car in wisconsin immediately. the emissions test will simply read your car's computer, and takes about 10 minutes. chances are pretty good that you'll get a ticket for expired registration. you do not need to be in the car to get a ticket for that--i've seen suburban chicago cops trolling private parking lots for that very thing. if you do, at least back in to your parking spot.

show up in court with your insurance info and they'll drop that charge. be ready to pay $100-150 for the ticket. (more if in cook county, as they really raised their fees--so much that the last time i was in traffic court, the judge apologized to the courtroom before hearing cases, explaining that even if he fined people 0, they would still be paying $114. in fees.)
posted by lester's sock puppet at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2009

You can register your car in Wisconsin without a valid driver's license, all the DMV requires is your SS number.
posted by Floydd at 12:43 PM on November 30, 2009

chances are pretty good that you'll get a ticket for expired registration

I've known several people who live in the general area that had expired registrations for months that didn't get caught, but your mileage may vary. Also, if you do get a ticket for expired registration, if you register it after the fact and show up in court there's a decent chance that you can avoid paying the ticket.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:47 PM on November 30, 2009

OK. Now that I'm a bit calmer and have reviewed Floydd's and ZakDaddy's links:

Looks like in order to get my Wisconsin plates, I don't really need a drivers license (weird). I have a current passport, SS card, etc so I'm good to go on the identity documents.

Title fee: $69.50
Plates: $75.00
Wheel Tax: $20.00
= $104.50

Standard plate renewal: $79 + whatever the late fee is ($20?)

Looks like I'm better off being careful until Friday and then registering the car in WI.
posted by desjardins at 1:07 PM on November 30, 2009

The late fee doesn't kick in for a month after the reg. expires.

Don't play games with the license- to get a duplicate license, I think you have to tell them that your license isn't being held by any courts, etc., etc.

You don't need a drivers license to register a car in IL either. I think their position is that they don't care what you do with the car, as long as you pay the tax.
posted by gjc at 1:42 PM on November 30, 2009

The late fee doesn't kick in for a month after the reg. expires.

You can still get a ticket any time your current sticker is not displayed on your plate, even if your sticker is in an envelope in your glove box because you forgot to actually stick it on. Don't ask me how I know this. ::sigh::

The odds of you being caught with an expired sticker are pretty hit or miss. I once drove SIX MONTHS with an expired sticker, and another time only about a day and a half. Both times I had to pay the regular fee to bring my status up to current, but not a late fee. Both times I showed up in court with proof of payment, and my tickets were dismissed.

Good luck, op. Stay low!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:14 PM on November 30, 2009

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