What If I Commit An Additional Offense When Driving On A Suspended License?
If you commit an additional offense while already on a suspended license, they are much more severe. If you are caught, as I said, driving after the DUI, then you will get mandatory jail time. If you get a couple of those tickets, a conviction, or one time conviction for the suspension, they are going to revoke your license. After that, you will need a full formal hearing with the secretary of state, which is very, very costly and unpleasant.
What Happens If Someone Picks Up A DUI While Driving On A Suspended License?
If you are suspended and you get picked up for a DUI in the state of Illinois, the DUI is a felony, first offense. So, if you never had a DUI before, and you are suspended at the time, that is the grounds for a felony. You see the situation many times with people who are illegally in this country, and let us say they received a couple of tickets for driving without a license, originally, the person driving without a license ticket is no big deal, no driver’s license on that person. Nevertheless, the second time turns into a driving license suspension. If the person had one traffic ticket for speeding, did not have a license, and they gave him that ticket, but they see he has no license, they suspend his ability to get a license. He thereafter gets his first DUI.
That first DUI, because they were suspended at the time, can be upgraded to a felony. It is the state attorney’s discretion, and they will issue that sometimes. Everybody who is here illegally, and has a prior driving ticket could be looking at a felony on his or her first time DUI, and that could result in deportation. That is super serious. Anytime you get a DUI, there are a number of ways that a DUI can be upgraded, but it can be a suspension for anything. It will be suspension for financial responsibility, and failure to show up in court for too many tickets, which is one of the ways they can upgrade it. For example, if you have no insurance, or if they have a prior ticket, they ignored it, and now suspension is in effect, you get a DUI, you are looking at a felony.
Are The Penalties Imposed On Top Of The Suspension Or Revocation?
No, you have two issues to deal with when you have a suspension. One, you have to deal with the secretary of state, because they are going to decide whether to keep your suspended license, or upgrade it to revoked, or no affect to your license at all. You need to deal with the secretary of state, but then you also have to deal with the prosecutor, the state’s attorney. They have the penal affect. This is where they can give you up to a year in jail, three years in prison or up to seven years in prison. So, you have to deal with two different entities By the time you get a conviction on a driving license suspension, they will re-suspend your license for a certain period, depending on what you were suspended for, and what the new ticket is for.
All of a sudden, you are qualified for a felony upgrade. It goes like an airplane, you want it upgraded, but you do not want it upgrade on any suspended or revoked ticket, believe me. If you have a couple, I think it is three driving license suspensions even though it is not revoked, suspended on DUI, there is a 180-days minimum jail time. Jail time possibilities go up dramatically if you have more of these. It just depends. A regular suspension for failure to pay tickets, you can get ten of them, it does not have the automatic jail possibility. There are so many different reasons for a suspension, I cannot go through all of them, but obviously the more serious ones start dictating where you are going to receive mandatory jail time, and your attorney is really going to have to do a job to get you out of those.
Just because it starts out that way, that does not mean it could not be reduced even down to a misdemeanor if your attorney can do a great job for you. Everybody’s case is unique; there is always a unique set of facts, and circumstances, which dictate how well your case is going to go on top of how good of an attorney you have. So, just because you have a great case, and you get the wrong attorney, you may not be able to do anything. An example of where there is a problem, such as getting a summary suspension on a DUI, you are not allowed to have a public defender for that. A public defender can only be appointed when it is a jail-able offense.
Driving while a license is suspended, for a statutory summary suspension, the driving license suspended part is jail-able, but the summary suspension is a separate animal, which they call quasi criminal. This is not really criminal, because you cannot go to jail for just the suspension part as far as the secretary of state is concerned. Anyone using a public defender is going to have the dilemma if they get a public defender appointed to help them, the public defender cannot help them on their statutory summary suspension, because it is not a jail-able part of the case. The judge will not let them do that. Therefore, you may very well qualify for help on the criminal case, but you are screwed when it comes to your summary suspension, which is a very important aspect of this charge.
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