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What if I Got Pulled Over and Did Not Know My License Was Suspended in Illinois?

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we answer the question: “what if I got pulled over ad did not know my license was suspended in Illinois?”  We also answer the following:

  • What is the penalty for driving on a suspended license in Illinois?
  • What if I did not know that my license was suspended?
  • What should I do if I am charged with driving on a suspended license?

A reader asked the following question: What if I get pulled over in Illinois and have a suspended license that I didn’t know was suspended?  I’m 19 but I still need to get to work.

What is the penalty for driving on a suspended license in Illinois?

Driving on a suspended license can be a Class A Misdemeanor or a Felony, depending on the reason that your license was suspended.  The maximum penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor is 1 year in prison and a fine of $2,500.00. 

What if I did not know that my license was suspended?

Ignorance of the fact that your license was suspended does not excuse the violation.  However, depending on the circumstances, your lack of willful behavior may impact the prosecutor’s willingness to allow you to plea to a lesser offense or the judge’s discretion in assigning a penalty if you are convicted. 

What should I do if I am charged with driving on a suspended license?  

The first thing you should do is hire an attorney.  An attorney will give you the best chance of having the charge reduced or dismissed.  If your license was suspended for something that you can remedy, such as failure to pay a fine or failure to pay child support, the next thing you should do is resolve the cause for the underlying suspension.  If you bring proof that the underlying cause of the suspension was resolved to court with you, your attorney will likely be able to work with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charge and allow your license to be reinstated.

For more on this, check out our article: Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Illinois.    

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What is the penalty for driving on a suspended license in Illinois?

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