Driving With a Suspended License in Illinois
For most people, the ability to drive plays a critical role in their everyday lives. Losing that ability can jeopardize your life and your career. When a person's driving privileges are taken away, it can be very tempting and sometimes seem necessary to drive regardless of the suspension or revocation. However, driving with a suspended or revoked license carries stiff penalties, and is far different than a typical traffic ticket offense.
Common causes of a driver's license being suspended include: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; driver becomes incompetent to drive because of ill health; multiple traffic offense convictions; failure to report an accident; failure to appear for a court hearing; failure to obey a court order; failure to provide proof of vehicle insurance; not paying parking tickets or toll road violations.
Driving with a suspended license is at least a Class "A" misdemeanor with possible penalties of up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Depending on the circumstances, drivers can even be charged with a felony. If charged as a felony, there may be up to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.
Each time you are convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license the mandatory minimum jail term is increased. For example:
- Second conviction is a Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; and fines up to $25,000
- Third conviction is a Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; and fines up to $25,000
- Fourth to ninth conviction is a Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 180 days in jail; and fines of up to $25,000
- 10th to 14th conviction is a Class 3 felony with possible 2-5 years imprisonment; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; and fines of up to $25,000
- 15th or greater conviction is a Class 2 felony with a possible 3-7 years imprisonment; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; and fines of up to $25,000
The most common way to go to jail for driving while suspended is if your suspension is from a DUI. A conviction requires mandatory sentencing. For most other charges a good lawyer can keep you out of jail, especially if you are not a repeat offender.
If your driver's license is suspended, you may still be able to drive for certain purposes. Under the Driver Relief program, you may apply for restricted driving privileges. Restricted driving privileges generally only covers driving to work or school; however, sometimes exceptions are made for driving yourself or relatives to medical appointments. Restricted driving privileges may also be granted to those who drive as part of their employment.
In order for your attorney to determine what they must do to get your license reinstated, you need to pick up a copy of your driving record, called a Court Purposes abstract, from the local Department of Motor Vehicles station. Ask for a copy of your driver's abstract and tell the DMV it is "for court purposes.
Though every case is different, any arrest for driving on a suspended or revoked license is a serious criminal case. If you have any questions about your arrest or need an attorney recommendation, please contact us. We are lawyers in Chicago that help people throughout Illinois. We will recommend an independent firm that we honestly feel is right for your situation.