I've dealt with thousands of criminal cases involving driving on Illinois roads, including some cases where the client's license was suspended or revoked. Unfortunately, I've also dealt with many clients who had a suspended or revoked license when the still get caught driving on Illinois roads. The time a police officer pulled them over for something relatively small, such as a failure to turn, the officer would find out that the client's license was suspended or revoked and would charge the client with Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) or Driving While License Revoked (DWLR).
There are two elements to these crimes that the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a jury or judge to find you guilty. First, the prosecution will have to prove that you had a suspended or revoked license at the time of the arrest. This is fairly easy to prove as the prosecution can request your driving abstract from the Secretary of State. Second, the prosecution will have to prove that you operated a motor vehicle on a highway of the state during the time your license was suspended or revoked. This is also fairly easy to prove as the reporting officer can testify that he saw your vehicle driving on an Illinois road during the time of your suspended or revoked license. For both DWLR and DWLS, there is absolute liability, meaning that the State doesn't need to show that you knowingly or purposely violated the law; all that matters for these crimes is that the law was violated. This means that even if you weren't aware that your license was suspended or revoked, you can still be found guilty of the crime.
For both DWLS and DWLR, your first offense will be considered a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you will face up to 364 days in jail in addition to a fine as high as $2,500. Your second offense can be either charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on if your driving caused the death or personal injury of another. If charged as a Class 4 felony, your sentence could be as high as three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
Worse, if the 6-303 charge of driving while revoked occurs when suspended for a DUI charge, you face between 10 days in jail or 240 hours of community service.
But receiving a charge for driving with a revoked or suspended license has other consequences beyond the sentence. Pleading or being found guilty of driving on a suspended license will extend the amount of time that your license is suspended by the amount of your original suspension. Pleading or being found guilty of driving on a revoked license will increase the length of your revocation by one year. You could have your vehicle seized and forfeited, depending on the facts of your case. The list of consequences goes on and on.
The ability to drive is important to a lot of people and for this reason it is important that you take a charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license seriously. If you don't get behind the wheel when your license is suspended or revoked, you won't have to deal with these charges. But if you are facing a Driving While License Suspended or Driving While License Revoked charge, you will want a skilled attorney who will fight to protect your rights. The attorneys at John W. Callahan have years of experience handling cases like these and are willing to mount an aggressive defense against the charges for you. Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. for representation.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, defense attorney