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Driving With a Suspended License is a Crime

Many mistakenly assume that traffic ticket offenses are not criminal matters. Driving with a suspended license in Illinois is a very serious crime carrying stiff penalties. Reinstating your driving privileges after suspension or revocation can be a lengthy and costly process.

Stiff penalties for driving with a suspended license in Illinois

A first-time offender for driving with a suspended license is usually charged with a Class A misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. Under certain conditions such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless homicide, a first-time offense of driving with a suspended license may be treated as a felony carrying significantly stronger penalties. For example, a Class 4 felony may carry punishments of up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Reasons for license suspension

In Illinois, a person may lose his or her driving privileges temporarily and even permanently for any number of reasons. Following is a list of only some of the causes for license suspension:

  • Having 10 or more unpaid parking violations
  • Being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Missing a court appearance to address a traffic citation
  • Failure to pay court-ordered child support payments
  • Being convicted of fleeing an officer
  • Leaving an accident scene where death or injury occurred
  • Driving without auto insurance
  • Being convicted of three or more traffic offenses in 12 months
  • Committing a felony with a car
  • Being involved in repeated car crashes

Although some of the causes of losing your driving privileges are not crimes, when you drive in Illinois with a suspended license, you may face criminal charges.

Reinstatement of driving privileges

Restoring your driving privileges in Illinois varies depending on what caused the suspension or revocation. The process generally involves petitioning the Illinois Secretary of State, attending a formal hearing and participating in driving programs.

If you face a criminal charge in Cook County for driving with a suspended license, a Cook County criminal lawyer should be promptly retained.

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Paul Chatzky
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About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
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About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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