License Suspension in Illinois is No Laughing Matter
In Illinois, driving with your license suspended is a serious criminal offense. You can be charged with at least a Class A misdemeanor, and that carries a fine of up to $2,500 and a potential jail term of one year. If there are aggravating circumstances in your case, the state can charge you with a felony, and you may face a prison term of up to seven years and a fine of not more than $25,000.
Were you notified?
Often times, drivers who drive with a suspended license don’t even realize their license was suspended until they’re arrested. The Illinois Secretary of State tells drivers about a pending license suspension or revocation by sending a letter to the last address they have on file. If you’re not keeping your contact information current, which is easy to do, the letter goes to the wrong address.
Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s responsibility is satisfied by mailing the notice to the last known address, so even if you genuinely didn’t know about the suspension, that defense doesn’t usually carry much weight with a judge.
What you can do
If you find out your license has been revoked or suspended, don’t drive until it’s legal for you to do so. Figure out why your license was suspended and what you have to do to get the suspension lifted. Common reasons for license suspension include driving without any insurance, unpaid traffic tickets, failing to appear in court on another matter and excessive moving violations. Your license can also be suspended if your car fails auto emission testing, you didn’t pay a fine or child support, or you were charged with a DUI.
If you’re convicted of a DUI in Illinois, you can lose your license for one year as a first-time offender if you’re over 21 and for two years if you’re under 21. If you’re a first-time offender over the age of 17, you can apply for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit. These permits have rules regarding driving that you must follow, and that includes installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. With this device, you’ll have to breathe into a mouthpiece so that your blood alcohol levels are checked before your car starts.
The action you need to take depends on why your license was suspended because there are different forms and procedures for the various license suspension reasons. If your license was suspended because you didn’t have insurance, for example, you need to get proof of valid insurance and file it with the state. If it’s for unpaid child support, you’ll need to get caught up.
If you’re not sure how to handle your license suspension, speak to experienced traffic lawyers in Springfield IL as soon as possible. You may be able to get back on the road with a little legal help.