The International Student Broke Traffic Laws; Now What?

International Student in IllinoisAs an international student in the United States, the last thing you’d want is to get chased out of the country because of a minor traffic offense. You are in the country to take your studies and career prospects a number of steps further. Broken car parts and a speeding ticket should definitely not get in the way of that. But, they can be inevitable. So, what happens when an international student breaks traffic laws?

Unintentional Offenses, Tough Consequences

There is no shortage of traffic lawyers in Illinois, or elsewhere in the United States, whom you can call to help you get out of the situation. But, that doesn’t give you a license to turn up the speed as much as you want. Depending on the offense, you may have to pay fines, face trial, and spend time in jail, much like a U.S. citizen would. For traffic crimes, you will get a ticket and a guilty record. The state of Illinois has strict traffic laws, and unless you brush up on them, you may not even know that you broke them. Apart from speeding, other seemingly minor traffic offenses are:

  • Mechanical violations – Driving with broken headlights, cracked windshield, or broken or missing side mirrors can get you a traffic ticket.
  • Not pulling over to the right side of the street when you hear an ambulance or any emergency vehicle will also get you a traffic ticket. You must yield to the emergency vehicle and let it pass without blocking the way.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt is a reason for the traffic officer to issue a ticket.
  • Passing a school bus with its sign out when passing from the opposite direction will land you a three-month suspension upon conviction.

What This Means for an International Student

Your ability to follow a broader set of rules, in addition to your responsibility as a student, will determine if you can stay in the country. If you get a conviction because of these unintentional traffic violations, it will cost you a lot of opportunities: your chance at a citizenship, your ability to leave the country, and your status as a student. One ticket can deal serious blows to your goals and status as an international student. You definitely won’t want to risk it.