Illinois Traffic Violation and DUI Lawyers

Operating a Vehicle With Canceled, Suspended, or Revoked Registration


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Under Illinois law, all vehicles must be registered with either the Illinois Secretary of State or a reciprocal state.

Properly registering a vehicle can be a confusing and difficult process depending on your circumstances. Some people acquire vehicles from out of state, as gifts, or as an inheritance. Others have vehicles that are rebuilt or have mechanical issues that make it difficult or impossible to register.

Additionally, the Illinois Secretary of State will often require tax forms, affidavits, or other documents to properly register the vehicle.

Unfortunately, these are not valid legal defenses for operating a vehicle with canceled, suspended, or revoked registration.

Ultimately, the burden falls upon the driver of the vehicle to make sure it is properly registered. The best way to check the status of a vehicle is to enter the Vehicle Identification Number on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website.

Even if you are not driving, you can be arrested if you allow someone to operate your vehicle when you know its registration is canceled, suspended or revoked.

Suspended Registration for Noninsurance

If a driver is convicted of driving without insurance, the Illinois Secretary of State can suspend the registration of that vehicle (See 625 ILCS 5/7-606). This applies even if the owner of the vehicle was not the one driving. In other words, if you let someone borrow your car and they are convicted for driving without insurance, your vehicle’s registration can be suspended.

Foreign Registration

It does not matter if the canceled, suspended, or revoked registration is from the state of Illinois or another state. The law makes it clear that it is illegal to drive in Illinois if the vehicle’s registration in another state is canceled, suspended, or revoked.

What Is the Best Way to Deal with an Expired Registration in Illinois?

A ticket for driving with an expired registration is different from a charge for driving with suspended registration in Illinois. If you are ticketed for driving with an expired registration, then the best way to handle the ticket is to get your registration up to date. You can then take proof of valid registration with you to court. While having a current Illinois registration may not automatically result in the ticket being dismissed, it will likely lead to a much better outcome than showing up in court without an expired registration.

How Do I Get My Registration Unsuspended?

If your registration is suspended in Illinois for driving without insurance, then you will need to pay a $100 reinstatement fee to the Illinois Secretary of State. In addition, you must show proof of current and valid auto insurance in order to have the suspension lifted. If you are a repeated offender, then you will need to wait 4 months before you can apply to have your registration reinstated.

Remember: it is important to take this step before getting behind the wheel again. Driving with a suspended registration in Illinois is a serious criminal charge that can lead to severe consequences, including a fine of up to $2,500.

What Does Suspended Registration Mean?

In Illinois, all vehicles that are required to be registered in the state by the Illinois Vehicle Code must display registration tags. Once your car has been registered, you will receive a license plate and will be permitted to drive legally in the state.

If the state suspends your registration, such as for driving without auto insurance, then it means that the vehicle cannot be driven – by you or anyone else. In other words, a suspended registration means that the vehicle cannot legally be on Illinois roadways.  If you drive with a suspended registration, then you may be charged with a criminal offense.

Penalties for Driving With Canceled, Suspended, or Revoked Registration

If the state can prove that you were operating a vehicle with invalid registration, the penalties can be quite severe. In most cases, it is treated as a Class A misdemeanor, the most serious offense in Illinois before a felony. This means the judge can impose a sentence of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

There are other instances in which the penalty can be less, but in every case in which a person is accused of driving with a canceled, suspended, or revoked registration, the consequences are serious. Because the penalties are so severe, it is important that anyone accused of driving on a suspended, canceled, or revoked license get the best legal defense available by hiring a Chicago traffic lawyer. If you are accused of violating this or other traffic related laws, contact the lawyers at Driver Defense Team. We will help you understand what your options are, and defend you against the state and its accusations.

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