Driving is a privilege, not a right, and when that privilege is taken away due to suspended license penalties in Illinois, it can be a daunting task to get back on the road. It’s important to understand the laws and penalties associated with driving on a suspended license to stay out of legal trouble.
As a law firm that specializes in Illinois driving offenses, we’d like to share what you need to know about the penalties for driving on a suspended license. Call an experienced Illinois traffic violations attorney today for a free consultation!
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Difference Between Suspension and Revocation
There is usually a common mistake in terminology between license suspension and revocation. A license can be suspended for a set period of time, often due to unpaid tickets or failure to comply with a court order. On the other hand, a license can also be revoked, which means that it is taken away permanently or until a certain action has been taken to have the license reinstated. In short, the suspension is a temporary state and license revocation is permanent.
In Illinois, knowingly driving on a suspended license is a serious offense and is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The strict penalties for this crime can vary depending on the circumstances of the violation. Generally, the punishment is more severe if the license was suspended due to a conviction for a DUI or a similar offense, and less severe if the suspension was due to a petty traffic offense such as running a red light or driving without insurance or parking tickets.
If you get arrested by a police officer for a traffic alcohol-related offense, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer to help you achieve a favorable resolution in the formal hearing and avoid the minimum penalty of license suspension.
You should note also that driving on a suspended license in Illinois can result in serious consequences, ranging from days of community service to even a minimum sentence for felony offenses such as reckless homicide or motor vehicle collisions.
First Offense Penalties
In Illinois, if a person drives on a suspended or revoked license as a first offense, they can face up to a one-year jail sentence or hefty fines up to $2,500 or both. If the offense is alcohol-related, the penalties can be much more severe including longer prison sentences and increased fines.
Second Offense Penalties
If a person is caught driving on a suspended or revoked license for the second time within a period of five years, the applicable penalties can be even more severe. Such subsequent violations can include up to 3 years in prison, fines of up to $25, 000 or both. The person could also be subject to an extended suspension period on their license as well.
Additionally, if you are arrested a second time for driving on a suspended license in Illinois, the vehicle you were operating can be seized and impounded by the police. The vehicle can be held for up to 30 days, depending on the violation, and you will be responsible for paying storage costs to get the vehicle back.
All in all, driving on a suspended license can have a severely negative impact and an experienced license suspension lawyer may be able to help you obtain a favorable outcome, even if you are facing a period of revocation or subsequent offense. In some cases, your license may be permanently revoked and you will need to reapply for a new license and pay a reinstatement fee in order to receive your license back.
Restricted Driving Permit
In most cases, a person can apply for a restricted driving permit that will allow them to drive in certain situations such as going to and from work or medical appointments. However, even if they are granted this permit, it is important to remember that they still cannot drive while their license is suspended or revoked.
Examples of Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Cook County is known for its wide range of reasons for license suspensions, from simple traffic tickets to more serious offenses such as reckless homicide. Here are the common reasons that can lead to license suspension or revocation"
- Failure To Pay Tickets or Fines: If a driver has failed to pay any tickets or fines on time, the Secretary of State has the authority to suspend the license until payment is made. For example, a minor traffic violation or other petty offense
- DUI-Related Offenses: A driver may have a license suspension and a potential prison sentence if they have been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This type of suspension is typically much longer than suspensions related to traffic tickets and fines, with a first-time offense yielding a year-long suspension. So, it is important to seek a professional Illinois DUI attorney's evaluation if you have been charged with such a crime.
- Other Serious Traffic Offenses: In addition to the above, a driver may have their license suspended or revoked if they have been convicted of serious traffic violations, such as leaving the scene of an accident or recklessly endangering another person. Other offenses that may result in a suspension or revocation include drag racing, fleeing from police, and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.
While the potential penalties for driving on a suspended license in Illinois can be harsh, there are options available to help the offender regain their ability to legally drive. For example, if the term of suspension is due to unpaid tickets or fines, those debts can be paid off and the license reinstated.
In some cases, a restricted driving permit may also be available to allow limited driving privileges. Ultimately, consulting a criminal defense attorney is always recommended and can help those facing criminal charges understand their rights and begin the process of having their license reinstated.
Reinstating Your License
If your license has been suspended or revoked in Illinois, you may be able to reinstate it after serving the suspension period and paying any applicable reinstatement fees and fines. Depending on the severity of your case, you may also be required to attend driving safety courses or complete community service hours.
You may also be able to apply for a restricted driving permit that will allow you to drive under certain conditions. These may include going to and from work, school, or medical appointments.
If you are caught driving on a suspended license again after reinstating your license, the consequences can be even more severe. You could face increased fines and jail time as well as an extended license suspension or revocation period.
Call DUI Lawyers 24/7 Today!
Having a license suspended or revoked in the state of Illinois can be a difficult situation to navigate. And given the severe penalties associated with driving on a suspended license, it is important to understand the laws and consequences of your actions.
If you find yourself in this situation and require an experienced lawyer who will provide effective legal representation in traffic court or negotiate a plea agreement, reach out to the experienced legal team at our criminal defense law firm - DUI Lawyers 24/7. We can help you navigate the situation and get your license reinstated as quickly and easily as possible. Contact us for a no-cost initial consultation today.