In 2019, ABC News reported that eleven million Americans go without their driver's licenses due to unpaid fines alone. While something as simple as failing to pay a few traffic tickets can lead to a suspended license, there are a wide variety of reasons why an individual might lose their license.
If your license has been taken away, you might think that it's not a big deal to occasionally drive your car out of necessity. After all, it can be difficult to get to work, go to the grocery store, or run other errands without a license. However, it's worth understanding the consequences of driving with a suspended license, as you'll find that the risks far outweigh the rewards.
What happens if you drive with an Elgin suspended license? Let's take a look at everything you need to know.
The Reasons for a License Suspension or Revocation in Illinois
There are several different occurrences that can lead to a license suspension or revocation in the state of Illinois. These include:
- Being convicted of three or more traffic violations in the last year
- Being the cause of an accident that leads to death or injury
- Repeatedly being involved in car crashes
- Being convicted of specific offenses that happened while you were in control of a vehicle
- Being convicted of fleeing from a police officer
When it comes to certain offenses, license revocation is mandatory. These include driving under the influence, fleeing the scene of an accident, using a vehicle to commit a felony, and reckless homicide involving a vehicle.
You can also end up with a suspended license if you fail to pay a certain number of traffic violations, parking tickets or repeatedly avoid paying tolls. Circumstances that aren't even related to driving can also lead to a suspended license, for example, failing to pay child support.
How Long Will It Be Until My License Is Reinstated?
The specific circumstances of your situation will determine how long your license is revoked and/or suspended. When the period of suspension is over, you can't just start driving again. You'll have to regain your license by also paying a reinstatement fee.
How much you must pay will depend on the reason you lost your license in the first place but the fee usually ranges somewhere between $70 and $500.
Depending on your situation, there might be other conditions you have to meet before you can get your license back. These include paying traffic tickets or paying child support.
If you are wondering what the process is like for license reinstatement in Illinois check out our DUI license suspension guide here.
What Are the Consequences If You Drive With a Suspended License in Illinois?
To be clear, driving with a suspended license is a crime. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor or a felony. That is why it's important to understand that the disadvantages of driving with a suspended license mean it is never worth the risk.
If you have previous convictions for driving with a suspended license, the penalties might be even more serious. This is also true for the specific reasons you lost your license for in the first place.
When you are only charged with petty theft, the maximum fine is $500. However, class A misdemeanors also carry penalties of up to one year in jail.
If you are charged with a felony for driving with a suspended license, the consequences are much more serious. You might receive more severe charges for a number of reasons, including having lost your license for reckless homicide or having a certain number of prior convictions.
The fines for a felony can be as high as $25,000 and prison sentences related to felonies depend on the felony class in the state of Illinois. Class 4 felonies can result in between one and three years in prison, while a class 1 felony can result in up to fifteen years in prison.
It isn't uncommon for judges to suspend all or part of the sentence you are given and place you on probation. However, you certainly shouldn't rely on the hope that this will apply to you as in some situations, there can be a minimum required sentence. If you drive with a suspended license, for example, and the reason you lost your license was due to a reckless homicide conviction, you might have to either serve time in jail or perform a certain number of hours of community service.
Seek DUI License Suspension Advice From an Experienced Elgin Attorney
When you drive with a suspended license, you are risking the consequences of serious fines and even jail time. If you have been caught driving without a license, you will want to contact an experienced attorney right away. With the help of a lawyer, you can work to avoid the worst possible outcomes from your charge.
At John M. Quinn & Associates, Ltd., our speciality is Illinois driver's license reinstatement and clearing Illinois holds. It's our mission to help people get back on the road and driving again legally.
If you are having a problem with a hold in Illinois or a driver's license revocation, we are here to help. With more than twenty years of experience in this specific area of the law, we are more than equipped to help you start driving once more.
If it is time for you to find a qualified Elgin attorney to help you get your license back, contact us today!