Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Driving on a Suspended License
We help people find the right attorney for their case. We are unique in that we allow you to speak to our staff of experienced attorneys for free, we answer your questions and if needed we refer you to the right lawyer for your situation. We help with every area of Illinois law including traffic and DUI. We don’t directly represent you, but rather refer you to the best attorney for your case. If you would like our help please contact us at (312) 346-5320. Our headquarters are in Chicago, but we help everywhere in Illinois.
One of the goals of our website is to provide general information to the public about various areas of Illinois law. This page discusses driving on a suspended license. If you have any questions about this process please let us know.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license (DWLS) is a criminal offense. If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you must stop driving until your license and driving privileges are restored. If you continue to drive with a suspended or revoked license, then you are violating the law.
Your license is usually considered to be suspended from the time that the suspension is imposed, even though the official period of suspension may not begin until later. The court or agency that imposed the suspension must also actually restore the license before you are allowed to drive again.
DWLS is a serious offense, unlike other, more minor traffic violations. Tickets for things like speeding, disobeying a stop sign, failing to signal, or even not having insurance are minor offenses that are punishable, at most, with a fine. DWLS, on the other hand, can have serious criminal penalties, such as a large fine, prison time, or both.
The penalties for DWLS range depending on whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. It is at least a Class A misdemeanor, the penalty is up to 12 months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. If there are aggravating circumstances, e.g., past convictions, DWLS can be charged as a felony, which carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Even as a misdemeanor, driving with a suspended or revoked license means a criminal arrest record, mugshots, fingerprinting, and reports to the State Police and the FBI. Posting bond is also required in order to be released from custody. One major aggravating circumstance is whether you’ve had any convictions before, and how many. The following is a list of the various penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Illinois:
- First conviction – Class A misdemeanor with possible 0-12 months imprisonment; mandatory 10-day imprisonment on conviction or 30 days of community service; fines of up to $2,500
- Second conviction – Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; fines of up to $25,000
- Third conviction – Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service; fines of up to $25,000
- Fourth to ninth conviction - Class 4 felony with possible 1-3 years imprisonment; minimum 180 days in jail; fines of up to $25,000
- 10th to 14th conviction - Class 3 felony with possible 2-5 years imprisonment; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; minimum; fines of up to $25,000
- 15th or subsequent conviction - Class 2 felony with possible 3-7 years imprisonment; not eligible for probation or conditional discharge; minimum; fines of up to $25,000
Furthermore, the penalty for every conviction, even the first one, is a loss of driving privileges for double the original suspension period or an additional 1-year revocation, and it may result in the seizure or forfeiture of your vehicle.
If you are notified that your license has been suspended, whether by arrest or mail, you should do three things: do not drive, determine why your license was suspended, and take appropriate steps to clear the suspension.
The most common reasons for suspending a license in Illinois include:
- Too many moving violations
- Unpaid parking tickets
- Failure to pay a traffic fine
- Driving without insurance
- Failure of an auto emissions test
- Failure to appear in court
- Previous DUI conviction
In order to clear the suspension and get your license back, you must clear up the charges. If you were driving without insurance, you’ll need to get insurance. If you had too many moving violations, you’ll need to return to court on old tickets and ask that the judge lift a conviction, which she may or may not do. After you clear up the charges, you must apply with the Illinois Secretary of State in order to restore your driving privileges. Illinois provides several administrative forms for requesting hearings on traffic violations or reinstating a suspended driver’s license.
Good traffic defense attorneys in Illinois can help you avoid a conviction and the fines and/or jail time that come with it. The attorneys that we recommend are pro-active in their defense of clients and have a strong track record of success. Who we would recommend depends on which courthouse you are going to. In other words, the right lawyer to defend a charge of driving while suspended in Waukegan is not the right attorney for a similar charge in Chicago, Wheaton, Belleville, etc.
If you would like our help in finding the right attorney for your case please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.