The 10 Most Common Ways to Get a Suspended License in Illinois

Illinois drivers can have their licenses suspended or revoked for various offenses, including driving under the influence.
Written by Sara Brody
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Illinois drivers can have their licenses suspended or revoked for a number of violations, from minor offenses like failing to pay a traffic ticket to major crimes like driving under the influence. A license suspension will make it much harder to find
cheap car insurance in Illinois.
driver’s license
represents freedom, so it can be devastating to lose your driving privileges. That’s why it’s important to learn the rules for license suspensions in your state and ensure you never violate them. You should also familiarize yourself with the difference between a suspension and a revocation of driving privileges.
To learn everything you need to know, you’ll need to consult Illinois law, but first, car insurance comparison app
wants to fill you in on the basics. We’ve created a guide to help you understand the most common reasons for a suspended license in the Prairie State. Once you’re up to date on the rules, we can also help you find the perfect
car insurance

What’s the difference between a license suspension and revocation?

While the words “suspension” and “revocation” are often used interchangeably when describing a loss of driving privileges, they’re actually quite different! Each term is defined below:
  • A license suspension refers to a temporary loss of driving privileges, during a specified period of time
  • A license revocation refers to a long-term loss of driving privileges that can only be resolved through reapplying for licensing
There are many reasons why the state of Illinois might suspend or revoke driver’s licenses. Some are fairly benign, like failure to pay traffic tickets, while others are more serious, like driving under the influence. 

What can your license be suspended for in Illinois? 

The Illinois Department of Transportation can suspend or revoke licenses for a number of reasons. Here are some of
the most common ones:

1. If you are charged with a DUI

In Illinois, a driver is considered to be intoxicated if he or she has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication. If you are caught
driving under the influence
(DUI), you should expect a suspension of one year for your first conviction
A second DUI within 20 years will lead to a 5-year license suspension, while a third will land you with a suspended license for a minimum of ten years. After that, you are unlikely to be eligible for a license again in Illinois. The penalties for minors in the state are stricter as a result of the Use It & Lose It Zero Tolerance Law.  

2. If you are under the age of 21 and found purchasing or consuming alcohol

If you are under the age of 21 and convicted of the illegal purchase, possession, receipt, or consumption of alcohol, your license will be suspended for six months for a first conviction and twelve months for a second conviction. After a third offense, it will be permanently revoked. 
It does not matter if you did not drive while drinking alcohol—it’s still illegal to have it in your possession until you’re 21. 

3. If you are charged with illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages

Under Illinois'
open container laws
, it is illegal to transport alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of a vehicle, regardless of the driver’s age or to whom the alcohol belongs. If you are pulled over in this scenario, everyone in the vehicle can be charged with illegal transportation, although only the driver risks a suspended license. 
A first offense leads to a 12-month suspension of driving privileges, while a second offense will cause the revocation of your license for a minimum of one year. Any passengers in your car may be subject to a fine.

4. If you break Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) rules

Young drivers have certain restrictions on their licenses, as well as harsher penalties for violations. If you are convicted of a moving violation or serious offense, you can lose your driving privileges, delay the wait time to apply for a license by nine months, or even be denied a driver’s license entirely

5. If you fail to appear in court after a traffic citation

If you are issued a traffic citation and fail to appear in court, it can lead to a suspension of your driver’s license. If this occurs, you will likely have to pay a reinstatement fee as well as resolve the original traffic citation

6. If you fail to pay traffic tickets

Even if you appear in court after a traffic citation, you can still wind up with a license suspension if you fail to pay your tickets. Five or more unpaid tickets are likely to lead to a suspension, while drivers with fewer than five unpaid tickets may be unable to renew their license until the fee is paid

7. If you commit too many moving violations

Young drivers in Illinois are subject to strict rules under the Graduated Driver Licensing program and the No Tolerance Law. If you are guilty of two or more moving violation convictions within two years, your license will be suspended. 
For drivers over the age of 21, the laws surrounding moving violations are more relaxed, but there are still serious consequences if you violate them. If you are convicted of two moving violations within a year, the Illinois Secretary of State will send you a letter warning of the consequences. A third violation will lead to an automatic suspension
MORE: Reckless driving in Illinois

8. If you are found driving without insurance

In Illinois, drivers are required to carry liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage per
the state's car insurance laws
. If you are pulled over and can’t show proof of insurance, you risk seeing your vehicle registration and driver’s license suspended for up to three months. You can resolve the issue by paying a $100 reinstatement fee and providing proof of insurance

9. If you commit certain serious traffic offenses

Some traffic offenses in Illinois result in an automatic suspension, even if your record is clean. One example of this is a conviction for passing a stopped school bus. To learn more about automatic suspensions, check the Illinois law. 

10. If you fail to pay child support

Under Illinois’s “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” law—formally referred to as the Family Financial Responsibility Act—you can wind up with a suspended license if you fail to pay child support. This suspension may be court-ordered or ordered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

How to save money on car insurance in Illinois

Now that you know the rules of the road, it’s time to save big on Illinois car insurance with the help of
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