Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in Illinois

A suspension of your driver’s license is a serious hardship. If you need to drive to get to work, your job may be at risk if your driver’s license gets suspended. Without a driver’s license, it will be difficult to get to work and complete any other important tasks. Losing your license can make it impossible to get your children to school, run errands and even purchase groceries. If your driver’s license is in jeopardy, it is essential to hire a Chicago lawyer to help you keep your license. A Chicago lawyer can provide helpful advice, determine the best course of action and attend any required hearings. Lawyers have the required skillset to navigate the court system and get you the best possible outcome.

Reasons for License Suspensions

There are a variety of reasons that your license can get suspended in Illinois. The Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your license for:

Traffic Violations—Three moving violations in three months will result in a suspension.
Failing to Appear in Court—Failure to appear in court for a traffic violation may result in a suspension.
Parking Violations—Ten or more unpaid parking violations will result in a suspension.
Automated Traffic Violations—Five or more unpaid red light citations resulting from an automated camera may result in a suspension.
Failure to Pay Child Support—Part of the “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” Act
Tollway Violations—Five or more unpaid toll violations may result in a suspension.
Driving Without Insurance
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)—Refusing to chemical test, failing a chemical test and a DUI conviction all result in driving suspensions.

Statutory Summary Suspension

Statutory summary suspension is the automatic suspension of your driver’s license if you:

  • Refuse chemical testing when arrested for DUI; or
  • Fail chemical testing when arrested for DUI

This automatic suspension begins on the 46th day from the date on the notice of suspension. It is an administrative issue handled through the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and is separate from the criminal proceedings for DUI. A failed chemical test is a result that shows a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher or the presence of a controlled substance.

Driver’s License Hearings

Hearings are required for anyone facing an Illinois driver’s license suspension. These hearings may be formal or informal and take place through the Secretary of State’s office. The following are possible results of the hearings:

  • Restoration of your driving privileges
  • Denial of your driving privileges
  • Granting of a Restricted Driver’s Permit (RDP)

Anytime you are involved in a hearing, it is in your best interest to have an attorney there to represent your side. An attorney can help you:

  • Shorten your suspension period
  • Restore your driving privileges
  • Get you a RDP

Restricted Driver’s Permits

If your license is suspended, but you still need to drive, you may be able to obtain a RDP through a hearing. In order to get a RDP you must show that you need to drive for one of the following reasons:

  • Work
  • Medical Appointments
  • School
  • Daycare
  • An Alcohol Awareness Class (for DUI cases)

These reasons do not automatically make you eligible for an RDP.

Depending on the offense, you may be able to get a RDP. An RDP allows you to:

  • Drive during certain times of day.
  • Drive in certain locations.

DUI Suspensions & Revocations

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and can result in a driver’s license suspension or revocation depending on the circumstances of the offense. The period of suspension or revocation also varies depending on the circumstances. When your suspension is a result of a DUI, then there are extra steps towards getting your license reinstated. One extra requirement is completing a Drug/Alcohol Evaluation and completion of a Drug/Alcohol education course.

Additionally, if your license is suspended for a DUI related reason, you may not be eligible for an RDP, but you may be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driver’s Permit (MDDP). This permit allows you to drive a vehicle that has a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on the car. A BAIID requires you to blow into the device before driving. The car will not start if it detects a certain level of alcohol.

Reinstatement of Driver’s License

After the suspension period, you may pay the required fees and get your license reinstated. The fees vary depending on the reason for the suspension, with higher fees for DUI related suspensions.

CDL Suspensions

Most likely, the suspension of your Illinois driver’s license will result in the disqualification of your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Rules for CDLs are different and more strict that rules for a regular driver’s license. Disqualification and reinstatement of your CDL is separate from your regular driver’s license.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License

Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense. At a minimum, a charge of driving while your license is under suspension is a Class A Misdemeanor, which can carry possible penalties of:

  • Up to 1 year in jail, and
  • Fines of up to $2500

You can be charged with a more serious felony depending on the facts of your case and the underlying reason for your license suspension. Felonies can have fines of up to $25,000. Reasons for felony charges for driving on a suspended license include:

  • Previous convictions for driving on a suspended license.
  • Convictions related to reckless homicide.

Illinois License Reinstatement Lawyer

Since driver’s licenses are needed in order to drive to work or accomplish other important tasks, a threat to your driver’s license should be taken seriously. Anytime you are faced with a possible suspension, you should consider hiring a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer. Whether it is for an administrative hearing at the Illinois Secretary of State’s office or a criminal proceeding, it is in your best interest to hire a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. The Criminal defense lawyers at Tower Legal have experience handling driver’s license suspension cases. Contact the lawyers at Tower Legal to discuss any matter involving the suspension of your driver’s license.