For many people, the ability to drive is very important. It allows individuals to travel easily to important places, like work or school, as well as to places for recreation or other leisure activities. Unfortunately, the right to drive can be taken away. When an individual has his or her license suspended, he or she may be tempted to continue to drive anyway, which can lead to significant consequences.
Reasons for Suspension
The Secretary of State (SOS) can suspend a person’s driver’s license for numerous reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Three or more moving violations within a 12-month period;
2. Failure to appear in court for a traffic violation;
3. Ten or more unpaid parking violations;
4. Five or more unpaid automated traffic violations (being photographed for running a red light);
5. Failure to pay child support;
6. Failure to pay fines for five or more toll violations;
7. Causing an accident while driving without car insurance; or
8. Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, an illegal substance, or prescription medication.
The SOS notifies an individual of a pending license suspension by mail, sent to the last address on file at the SOS. As a result, it is important to update the SOS when a change of address occurs.
Penalties for Driving
An individual that chooses to drive while his or her license is suspended can be subjected to various penalties, including:
1. The suspension period being extended for the same length as was originally imposed;
2. Possible license revocation;
3. Jail time;
4. Seizure of the car’s license plates; or
5. Immobilization of the person’s vehicle.
Under Illinois law, driving on a suspended license is a Class A misdemeanor. The length of any jail sentence or amount of community service ordered depends on the reason why the license was suspended. For example, a person who drives after he or she had their license suspended for DUI can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 consecutive days or 30 days of community service.
Importantly, a second or subsequent violation becomes a Class 4 felony if the person is the proximate cause of an accident that results in personal injury or death to another person. A personal injury includes a Type A injury, which is defined as severe bleeding, distorted extremities, and any injuries that are require the person to be carried from the scene. A Class 4 felony is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years, with a minimum sentence of one year.
It is important that you do not drive while your license is suspended—doing so can lead to serious penalties. Yet, this may be difficult, as our reliance on being able to drive our own vehicles is so strong. If you are facing charges of driving on a suspended license, please contact an experienced Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney today. Our firm provides help for individuals located in Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.
About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.