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Failing To Move Over for an Emergency Vehicle

 Posted on December 29, 2023 in Criminal Defense

DuPage County criminal defense lawyerWhether it be a stationary ambulance attending to the victim of an accident or a police vehicle chasing down a speeding driver, there are rules all drivers must follow in these scenarios. Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over” Law, requires all drivers to proceed with caution around emergency vehicles and yield the right-of-way if necessary and able to do so. Failure to respond accordingly can result in a traffic violation ticket with mandatory fees or more. Those unfamiliar with Scott’s Law and requiring additional information or representation should consult an attorney.

Scott’s Law Origins

Named for Chicago Fireman Lieutenant Scott Gillen, the Illinois legislature passed Scott’s Law after Lt. Gillen was struck and killed while aiding motorists who had suffered an accident. The driver who struck Lt. Gillen was driving in the adjacent lane to where the Chicago Fireman was attending to the motorists and did not see him before it was too late.

Scott’s Law Violations

In Illinois, Scott’s Law draws two distinct violations:

  • Failure to yield to a stopped emergency vehicle - Stationary emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road must be approached with caution. A driver should reduce their speed and watch for emergency personnel at work in the area. Vehicles authorized to use oscillating, flashing, or rotating lights are considered emergency vehicles, and to be safe, drivers should move over a lane away from the emergency vehicle if possible.
  • Failure to yield to an approaching emergency vehicle - As emergency vehicles approach, a driver should pull off to the right side of the road and allow the vehicle to pass. Failing to adhere to this rule can see the driver receiving a moving violation ticket, which can result in a fine and mandatory traffic school attendance.

Scott’s Law Penalties

The punishment for a Scott’s Law violation is a mandatory fine and court fees. The penalties are as follows:

  • First-time violations will result in a fine ranging from $250 to $10,000
  • Second-time violation or more will result in a fine ranging from $750 to $10,000

Community service is a possible penalty on top of the fines and court costs. The duration of the community service is at the discretion of the court. Scott’s Law is generally treated as a petty offense but can become a misdemeanor or felony depending on other circumstances.

The circumstances for a change in penalties include:

  • Damage to property (another vehicle) will see a driver’s license suspension of three months and can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail
  • Causing personal injury to another person will see a driver’s license suspension of 12 months and can be charged as a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by one to three years imprisonment
  • Causing the death of another person will see a driver’s license suspension of 24 months and can be charged as a Class 4 felony

Contact a DuPage County, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

It can be confusing why you would receive a ticket for a law you may be unfamiliar with or did not even realize existed. The experienced Naperville, IL traffic violations attorney at the Law Office of Philip R. Nathe can help you navigate the ticket and strive to minimize the consequences. Call 630-416-7600 right now for a free consultation and allow us to help you protect your driving privileges.

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