Will I go to jail for driving while my license is suspended/revoked in Illinois?

What happens when you are caught driving while your license is suspended/revoked in Illinois? Will you go to jail? Good questions! Driving on a suspended driver’s license (DWLS) is a class A misdemeanor, punishable up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2500 fine or up to 2 years probation. That is the range as to how much a judge may sentence you for one offense of DWLS. If it is your first offense, it is highly unlikely that any judge would sentence you to the maximum amount of time in jail — or any jail at all for that matter. However, the punishment gets worse depending on:

  1. How many prior DWLS violations you have on your driving record;
  2. how bad your driving record is as a whole; and/or
  3. whether or not you are suspended for a more serious reason, such as a suspension from DUI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, reckless homicide, etc.

If it is your first DWLS violation, our attorneys can typically work out a deal that will NOT affect your driving record. However, if you plead guilty and receive a conviction for DWLS on your driving record, that conviction will extend the length of time you were suspended. For example, if you are at least 21 years old, and you receive 3 moving violation convictions within a 1 year period, you will likely receive a driver’s license suspension of 3-12 months.  If you are subsequently arrested for driving while your license was suspended during that period of time, your driver’s license suspension will be extended 3-12 more months. Further, if you are suspended or revoked for DUI, and you are caught driving at a time when your license is suspended or revoked for that DUI, the minimum statutory amount of jail time is 10 days (if you are found guilty or plead guilty to DWLS). If you have a prior DWLS violation on your record (whether it was court supervision or a conviction), and you are caught driving on a suspended driver’s license at a time when your suspended/revoked for DUI, it is a class 4 felony and you could be sentenced between 1-3 years in prison.

The punishments only get worse the more prior driving while license is suspended/revoked violations you have listed on your driving record. DWLS doesn’t seem as serious as other crimes…but, under the surface, it can affect your life greatly.  There are many collateral consequences that people do not know about. That’s why it is recommended for people charged with DWLS to hire an attorney to ensure the least possible punishment.  It is a difficult charge to defend.  Nevertheless, prosecutors are not required to advise you as to any effects a plea of guilty to DWLS would lead to.  Therefore, it is in your best interests to discuss the matter with an attorney.

If you have further questions, please call our office at 309-699-4691 or fill out our online contact form.


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The attorneys at Hall Rustom LLC represent clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Morton, Washington, Pekin, Eureka, East Peoria, Dunlap, Metamora, Bartonville, Bloomington, Normal and any legal matter located in Peoria County, Tazewell County, Woodford County, Marshall County, Stark County, Henry County, Knox County and McLean County.