The Illinois Secretary of State has the authority to suspend or revoke an individual’s Illinois license. A charge for driving while one’s license is suspended or revoked is a serious criminal matter in Illinois. If an individual has three or more moving violations within twelve months, their license will be suspended by the Secretary of State. For those under the age of 21, even fewer infractions can result in a suspension. Other common reasons for suspension include repeat motor vehicle accidents, and a conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The Secretary of State also has the authority to revoke an individual’s license. This is much more serious than suspension, as a revocation can last for an indefinite period of time. If an individual’s license is revoked, they must appear at a formal hearing to request reinstatement and show that they are not a danger to public safety or welfare.
If an individual continues to drive while under a suspension or revocation, the penalties can be severe. The exact charge and sentence depends heavily on the reason for suspension and/or whether this is an individual’s first or subsequent offense.
A first time driving while suspended or revoked is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. This offense carries up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.00. The Secretary of State will also extend the suspension and revocation period. The State’s Attorney may offer court supervision to first time offenders. If an individual receives court supervision, and they complete the period of supervision without additional charges or tickets, and pay the necessary fines, then the offense will not show up as a conviction on the individual’s record.
The penalties increase for subsequent violations. A second conviction carries with it an additional penalty of 100 hours of community service. A third violation carries a mandatory 30 days imprisonment or 300 hours of community service.
Depending on the situation, driving on suspended and/or revoked can also result in a felony offense, usually a Class 4 Felony. This can carry a period of imprisonment for 1-3 years. If the underlying offense for the suspension is for a DUI, or for leaving the scene of an accident, and it is a second violation, then it is eligible to be charged as a Class 4 felony. The minimum term of imprisonment is 30 days or 300 hours of community service. If it is a third or fourth violation, the term of imprisonment is required and increases. The penalties continue to increase based on the number of violations, and eventually an individual can be charged with a Class 2 felony.
It is easy for an individual to continue to receive driving while suspended and/or revocation tickets. This is because the period of suspension and revocation continues to extend with each additional ticket. If it is necessary for an individual to continue to drive during the suspension and/or revocation period, it is recommended that they apply for a Restricted Driving Permit.
Due to the severity and complexity of the charges, an individual who receives a driving while suspended or revoked ticket should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can help explain the specific penalties that their client is facing based on the facts specific to the ticket and the client’s driving history. They will also be able to negotiate with the State’s Attorney which will likely result in a more favorable resolution.