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People v. Roberts

OPINION FILED MARCH 22, 1983.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JOHN ROBERTS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County; the Hon. Snyder Howell, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE KARNS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, John Roberts, appeals from a judgment of conviction entered after a bench trial in the circuit court of Jackson County. The defendant was found guilty of the offense of reckless driving in violation of section 11-503 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-503). He was fined $100 plus the costs of the proceeding.

The sole issue on appeal is whether the Illinois Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint, the charging instrument, was insufficient because it failed to inform the defendant of the nature and elements of the offense of reckless driving.

The facts are not in dispute. On March 27, 1981, the defendant was issued a traffic ticket for reckless driving. The Illinois Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint provided for in Supreme Court Rule 552 (73 Ill.2d R. 552) is a preprinted form which provides a small amount of space for describing the nature and elements of the offense charged. Officer Donald Hawk of the Southern Illinois University Police Department, who charged defendant, wrote on the face of the ticket that defendant had committed the offense of "Reckless Driving" and cited section 11-503 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. By checking the boxes in the lower portion of the ticket, the officer noted that there was cross, oncoming and pedestrian traffic present, that the highway type was two and four lanes and that it was a school area. None of the boxes describing the nature of the violation were checked, and there was no description of the alleged act of reckless driving provided by the officer.

At trial, at the close of the State's case, the defendant moved for dismissal challenging the sufficiency of the complaint. The motion was denied. Defendant was found guilty and fined. Defendant subsequently filed a motion in arrest of judgment which was denied.

The defendant contends that the complaint upon which he was tried and convicted violated his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and elements of the offense charged. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, sec. 8; U.S. Const., amend. VI.) The defendant also asserts that the complaint failed to meet the requirements of section 111-3(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 38, par. 111-3).

Section 111-3 reads as follows:

"a) A charge shall be in writing and allege the commission of an offense by:

(1) Stating the name of the offense;

(2) Citing the statutory provision alleged to have been violated;

(3) Setting forth the nature and elements of the offense charged;

(4) Stating the date and county of the offense as definitely as can be done; and

(5) Stating the name of the accused, if known, and if not known, designate the accused by any name or description by which he can be ...


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