A wrinkle in the DUI laws in Illinois that everyone should be aware of.
If you are pulled over for DUI and you do not have a valid license (it is is either suspended or revoked at the time) or you do not have insurance (it has to be valid at the time you are stopped), your DUI, even if it is your first, is a felony.
This is a huge deal for most folks. They don’t realize that you have to have BOTH a valid license AND insurance, not to get charged as a felony DUI, even for your first one. Otherwise, you would be able to get a misdemeanor for your first DUI, even your second.
Obviously, if you have a valid license and insurance, you are going to have your license statutorily suspended upon getting your first DUI (without a hearing). So now, you don’t have a valid license. And if you are caught driving for any reason, you’ll pick up a 625 ILCS 5/6-303 or a driving on a suspended license ticket. And those can get serious. They now can add up to felonies and automatic mandatory jail times up to 6 months. Frankly, the State of Illinois sometimes seems more concerned about putting people away for driving without a license than any other crime.
If you’ve had your license revoked because of a prior DUI, or just had it suspended for other traffic reasons, GET IT REINSTATED! Call a lawyer and take them to your hearing at the Secretary of State because driving without a license, or a DUI without a license, has become serious business.