Mistakes happen, and you may have had a lapse in judgment because life caught up with you. Unfortunately, drivers often lose their driving privileges for things that they didn’t know were even illegal. This creates undue challenges to taking your kids to school, getting to work, and commuting to other important places. Violating a driver’s license suspension is a severe offense and is treated as a criminal matter.
If you have received a suspended license ticket, contact a lawyer immediately for legal representation. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers will fight aggressively for your legal rights and do our best to help you reduce harsh penalties. We have helped thousands of clients get a favorable outcome. Let us help you pursue a positive outcome of your case and even get a complete dismissal of your criminal charges.
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Reasons a License May Be Suspended
There are many reasons that a driver’s license could be suspended in Chicago, including not appearing in traffic court, not paying child support, and being convicted of three or more moving violations in a 12-month period. Depending on the seriousness of your traffic violations, your driver’s license could even be revoked after multiple traffic offenses in a short time.
Driver’s license suspension and revocation are also common legal consequences related to a drunk driving arrest or conviction. For instance, if a driver fails a breathalyzer test at the time of their arrest, they’ll face an immediate license suspension for at least six months. Refusing the breathalyzer test completely could mean a license suspension for at least a year. If you’re convicted of driving while drunk, your driver’s license can then be revoked for at least a year for the first traffic offense, and longer for subsequent offenses. You’ll also likely be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a period of time.
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What are the Criminal Charges for Driving With a Suspended or Revoked License?
Many drivers believe that driving while your driver’s license is suspended or revoked is punished with a traffic ticket. In reality, if you’re caught driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, you’ll face a criminal offense, which is more severe than simply getting a traffic ticket. If your license is suspended or revoked because of an intoxicated driving charge, the following penalties may apply:
- First Offense: This is a Class A misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a minimum of 10 days in jail or 30 days of community service. Offenders may also have to pay a maximum fine of $2,500 and mandatory court costs, and their driver’s license will be suspended for a period that is double the original suspension period. Also, they may face an additional year of license revocation if their license was originally revoked.
- Second Offense: A second conviction is a Class 4 felony unless the original license suspension or revocation was because of drunk driving, refusing a chemical test reckless homicide, or fleeing the scene of a car crash involving personal injury or death. Here, a second offense is charged as a Class 2 felony offense. In this case, you’ll have to pay a maximum fine of $25,000 and you must serve a minimum of 30 days in jail or 300 hours of community service.
- Third Offense: A third offense is charged similarly to a second offense and it’s a Class 4 felony offense, which is punishable by a minimum sentence of 30 days in prison or 300 hours of community service. However, if the original suspension or revocation was because of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, refusing a chemical test, reckless homicide, or fleeing the scene of an auto crash involving personal injury or death, the offense is elevated to a Class 1 felony.
How Can I Reinstate My Driver’s License?
To reinstate your driver’s license after the suspension or revocation period lapses, you must pay a reinstatement fee ranging from $70-$500 depending on the cause of your suspension. Reinstating a driver’s license after revocation or a drunk driving conviction may include stricter requirements, including:
- Having a clean driving record,
- Having a drug or alcohol evaluation,
- Completing a drug or alcohol remedial education program,
- Filing proof of financial responsibility,
- Meeting with a Secretary of State hearing officer,
- Passing a driving exam, a written exam, and a vision exam.
There may be additional requirements, but the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Chicago Traffic Lawyers can advise you.
Related Content: How to Get a Revoked License Back
Seek Legal Help for Driving After License Suspension or Revocation Charges!
If you’re charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license in Chicago, you should hire an experienced attorney. A criminal conviction could result in hefty fines and even jail time. Your ability to go to school, keep employment, retain car insurance, and do many other things might be affected. While the law provides a minimum and sometimes maximum sentences if you’re convicted your sentence will in part depend on how your local prosecutors and judges view the crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with these cases in your local area can advise you about your unique situation.