Driving while license suspended: more serious than a ticket

by Sami Azhari on March 16, 2012

Illinois Driving While Suspended | Cook County DWLS

As an attorney I cannot count the number of times clients say to me, “I did not get arrested for driving while suspended. I just got a ticket.”

Many people are misinformed. The law in Illinois says that a person does not have to be handcuffed in order to be, in legal terms, arrested. A court of law will consider a person arrested or he or she is detained and charged with an offense. Basically, if the police stop a person and give him a ticket, that person was arrested.

A ticket for driving while license suspended is an arrest. And if a person knew what the penalties are for driving while suspended, he would agree.

The Illinois Vehicle Code says that the offense of driving while license suspended is a crime. Under section 625 ILCS 5/6-303, the charge of driving while suspended is a Class A misdemeanor. The potential penalties include up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine.

As with any other misdemeanor offense, a jail sentence would be served at 50 percent of the time indicated by the court. Jail sentences in Illinois are reduced for good behavior. Typically, the county jail facility will release a person after serving 50 percent of the sentence. While there are some county jail facilities, such as the Cook County Department of Corrections, which release offenders even earlier, there is nothing mandated by state law to release a person before they have served at least half of the sentence.

The charge of driving while license suspended is one of the most common criminal charges in the Illinois court system. Generally speaking, the most common offenses are the following: driving under the influence, domestic battery, retail theft, and driving while suspended.

Most of the time, people who are arrested for driving while suspended will be advised to get their license, told that the prosecutor will dismiss the charge.

When this occurs, the defendant is lead to believe that the charge is relatively minor. But this could not be farther from the truth. People go to jail every day for driving while license suspended.

It is not just a ticket, but rather an arrest with potential penalties including imprisonment.

Previous post:

Next post: