Driving While License Suspended or Revoked in IL

Maintaining a current and valid driver’s license requires a driver to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and lawful manner, maintain insurance for his or her vehicle, comply with various administrative requirements, avoid multiple moving violation convictions, and appear in Court and pay fines, as required. Failure to do so may result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending a motorist’s driver’s license.

Continuing to drive after the Illinois Secretary of State has suspended or revoked your driver’s license is considered a crime in Illinois, which will result in a criminal charge. The offense of Driving While License Suspended, or Driving While License Revoked, pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/6-303, is considered, at a minimum, a Class “A” Misdemeanor in Illinois. This is true whether or not the initial suspension is an administrative action resulting from, for example, a conviction for not maintaining insurance for your vehicle, or receiving multiple moving violation convictions, or whether it stems from a criminal offense such as Driving under the Influence (DUI).

Reasons for Driver’s License Suspensions

The Illinois Secretary of State may suspend your driver’s license, administratively, for one of several reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Driving without Insurance (A conviction for Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle)
  • Failure to appear in Court for a traffic ticket, resulting in the Court entering a conviction against the driver, and the driver failing to pay the fine associated with the ticket
  • Failure to Pay Child Support, under the “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” Act
  • Traffic Violations – For drivers 21 years of age or older, 3 or more moving violation convictions within a 12-month period
  • Traffic Violations – For drivers under 21 years of age, 2 moving violation convictions within a 24-month period
  • Failure to Comply with Request for Proof of Insurance from the Illinois Secretary of State – If the driver fails to provide the Illinois Secretary of State with proof of insurance for the driver’s vehicle, subject to random request by mail from the Secretary of State.
  • Failure to Comply with Emissions Testing – If the driver fails to obtain an emissions test of the driver’s vehicle pursuant to request from the Illinois Secretary of State.
  • Unpaid Parking Tickets
  • Unpaid Tollway Tolls – If left unpaid, the driver is not only subject to a driver’s license suspension, but also high fines and interest!

Criminal charges that result in the Illinois Secretary of State suspending a motorist’s driver’s license:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – 6 months or 1 year, or longer.
  • Reckless Driving

Criminal charges that result in the Illinois Secretary of State revoking a motorist’s driver’s license:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – conviction
  • Reckless Homicide
  • Committing a serious Felony offense while operating a motor vehicle

In addition, the Illinois Secretary of State can also administratively revoke a motorist’s driver’s license if the Secretary State determines that the driver is an habitual violator of the traffic laws: multiple convictions, in Illinois or another State, resulting in previous multiple suspensions of the motorist’s driver’s license.

Can I Drive With a Suspended or Revoked License?

No. You must not drive until you have resolved the issue(s) causing the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Should you drive before the Illinois Secretary of State allows you to drive, and should you have the misfortune of being stopped by law enforcement officials, you will be charged with the Class “A” Misdemeanor offense of Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License Revoked (DWLR), pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/6-303.

And, if the Illinois Secretary of State revoked your driver’s license as a result of a conviction for Driving under the Influence (DUI), and you are stopped by law enforcement officials, you will face harsher penalties. Multiple offenses for Driving While License Revoked, based upon a DUI conviction, will result in the Prosecutor upgrading this charge to a Felony offense.

A person charged with the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) may drive on the 31st day of his her statutory summary suspension period, provided the Illinois Secretary of State considers the driver an administrative first-time offender and eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP), where the driver has not been charged with the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) within the previous 5 years, AND installs a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in his or her vehicle.

Charges for Driving While License Suspended or Driving While License Revoked

Driving on a suspended or revoked license is often a much more serious offense than the events or circumstances that triggered the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Regardless of whether you are arrested, or simply ticketed, or only notified by mail, Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) and Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) are criminal offenses in the State of Illinois, and a criminal arrest will appear on your record. If you are arrested, law enforcement personnel will fingerprint you, take your “mugshot”, and will submit the records of the arrest to the Illinois State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) are Class “A” Misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to one year less one day in jail, and a fine up to $2,500.00. If aggravating circumstances are present, law enforcement personnel can upgrade and charge a Driving While license Revoked (DWLR) offense as a Felony, which carries much harsher penalties and fines than a Misdemeanor.

What Steps Can I Take for the Illinois Secretary of State to Lift the Suspension or Revocation of My Driver’s License?

There is no set procedure for lifting the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Having the Illinois Secretary of State lift the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license depends largely upon the circumstances which led to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. For example, if the Illinois Secretary of State revoked your driver’s license as a result of a conviction for Driving under the Influence (DUI), then you will be required to proceed to an Administrative Hearing before an Illinois Secretary of State Hearing Officer.

In a relatively simple case, you must resolve the underlying issues which led to the Illinois Secretary of State suspending or revoking your driver’s license. For example, if you received three or more moving violation convictions in one year, then you should return to Court where the conviction(s) was entered, and request that the Court vacate the conviction(s). If you are successful, then the Illinois Secretary of State will lift the suspension of your driver’s license. Appearing in Court on a charge of Driving While License Suspended (DWLS), with a valid and current driver’s license, will demonstrate to the Prosecutor and Court that you took the initiative to have the Illinois Secretary of State lift the suspension of your driver’s license, which may result in the Prosecutor reducing your Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) charge. If the Prosecutor refuses to reduce your Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) charge, the Prosecutor may request that the Court impose a more lenient sentence. If your Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) charge is related to a criminal charge, such as Driving under the Influence (DUI), you may face more obstacles in resolving your matter. In either case, we recommend that you hire an experienced attorney to represent you in order to minimize potential penalties and assist you in taking the necessary steps for the Illinois Secretary of State to lift the suspension of your driver’s license.

Get Professional Legal Help with Your Suspended License or Revoked License

Attorney David B. Franks has several years of experience in defending those facing various traffic offenses, including Driving While License Suspended and Driving While License Revoked charges, and assisting Clients in taking the necessary steps for the Illinois Secretary of State to lift the suspension or revocation of their driver’s licenses.  Call David B. Franks today for a free initial consultation.

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