If you are charged with DUI in Illinois, the Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license 46 days after your arrest unless you successfully petition the court to rescind or undo the suspension. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you could serve a mandatory 10 days in jail or 30 days community service for a first offense. And the penalties for subsequent offenses only get worse.

But what happens if, after you are arrested for driving on a suspended license, the judge lifts the suspension? Can you still be convicted? Different Illinois Appellate Courts had different answers, but the Illinois Supreme Court has settled the issue by saying, in short, that you are out of luck. (See People v David K. Elliott).

A downstate Court of Appeals previously ruled that a “rescission” should be treated as though your suspension never happened. Therefore, you could not be convicted for driving on a suspended license even if you didn’t get the rescission until after you were arrested. Other Appellate Courts, however, said that if your license is suspended at the time you are stopped, then you should pay the price. These courts reasoned that people should not be encouraged to ignore the law by driving while suspended.

The Illinois Supreme Court has now ruled that a rescission is not like hitting the reset button. The Court determined that the Illinois legislature did not mean the term “rescind” to apply retroactively in the DUI context. Therefore, if you are caught driving before the rescission, you can still be convicted of driving on a suspended license even though the judge later says it is okay to drive.

If you are charged with driving on a suspended license or related crime, be sure to contact an experienced DUI law attorney immediately. Even under the new decision, an attorney can look for other avenues of defense. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Can you get community service instead of jail?

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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