Illinois May Ease Laws on Driver’s License Suspension
Over 80 percent of Illinois residents drive their own car to work. To stay employed, having a valid driver’s license can be almost as important as a person’s skills and experience. Yet current Illinois law allows the Secretary of State to suspend your driver’s license for many different reasons, ranging from unpaid traffic tickets to driving under the influence.
According to a recent report, Living in Suspension, published by the Chicago Jobs Council, license suspensions can “force people to choose between unemployment, bankruptcy, or risking going to jail for driving on a suspended license.” To remedy the hardship imposed by license suspensions, the Illinois legislature is considering changes to the state laws that govern driver’s license suspensions.
The License to Work Act (SB2411) was introduced in January 2018 and could take effect as early as July 2019. If passed, this proposal would eliminate driver’s license suspension as a penalty for:
- Unpaid tolls and related fines;
- Theft of motor fuel;
- Chronic absence from school by a minor under age 18 (truancy);
- Being adjudged to have a mental disability or disease;
- Underage purchase, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages (section 6-20 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 or a similar local ordinance), unless the person was an occupant of a motor vehicle at the time of the violation;
- Possession of medical cannabis in a motor vehicle in violation of Illinois Vehicle Code sections 11-502.1(b and c), which require containment in a sealed, tamper-evident medical cannabis container; and
- Certain misdemeanor offenses involving a motor vehicle if the accused “did not exercise actual physical control of the vehicle in the commission of the offense,” such as criminal trespass to a parked vehicle (720 ILCS 5/21-2) or theft of parts from a parked vehicle (625 ILCS 5/4-102).
The proposed law would also:
- Reinstate driver’s licenses that were suspended or revoked due to the offenses listed above;
- Eliminate the broad right of the Secretary of State to suspend a person’s driver’s license for “failure to pay any fees, or civil penalties owed to the Illinois Commerce Commission, or taxes due;” and
- Require local authorities to “conduct a hearing to determine an individual’s ability to pay and impose a payment plan before requesting suspension of a license” for unpaid parking tickets.
Fight Back with a Will County Driver’s License Reinstatement Lawyer
A license suspension is costly: you will pay up to $500 to get your license reinstated, your car insurance fees can go up, you could lose your job, and you will face stiff fines and other penalties if you are caught behind the wheel during your suspension period. An experienced Joliet driver’s license reinstatement lawyer can help you fight a DUI-related suspension and also help you get a suspended license reinstated as quickly as possible. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation to discuss your situation.