Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How to Lose Your Get Out of Jail Card-- For Free

David B. Johnson appeared in the Markham court before Judge Donnelly a couple of weeks ago. He was there for driving on a suspended license for the thirteenth time. Yes, you read that right.

In Illinois it is not uncommon to go to jail for driving with a suspended license after the third time. Driving with a suspended license is a jailable offense; it is in the same class of offense as a DUI, carrying a maximum penalty of 364 days in the county jail and/or fines up to $2,500.

The last words Judge Donnelley said to Mr. Johnson were "Do not drive, and I will see you on February 6, 2009 when you'll begin your 10 day jail sentence for driving while your license was suspended".

But alas, Mr. Johnson's pride and joy awaited him just a few steps away. Upon leaving the Courthouse building, he went straight to the parking lot and wiped down his pride and joy, a 1988 purple Cadillac with its placard stating "Pimp Plaza" proudly displayed. He drove off in his car, and a few blocks away from the courthouse was stopped by the Sheriff and charged with driving while his licences was suspended for the, yes, you guessed it, fourteenth time! He was held on bail by Judge Donnelly for $10,000. According to the Cook County Sheriff's website, he is still in custody. So what was Mr. Johnson thinking? Who knows, because he clearly wants to drive. He has a vintage custom 1988 Cadillac. It is the color reserved for royalty, purple. He is going to drive, and I hope he has a good attorney. It is far better for all of us if he can drive legally. He loves his car and clearly takes care of it.

The Takeaway: Your driving privileges can be suspended for a number of reasons you may not be aware of, including failure to complete and file paperwork about auto accidents, failure to pay parking tickets, tolls, child support , not carrying auto insurance, or even too many moving violations (two within 12 months may be enough to trigger a suspension). If your license is suspended, you need an experienced attorney who can advise you of your rights and place you back, legally, in the driver's seat. If you to continue to break the law by driving to and from the Couthouse for appearances related to your earlier charges of driving while your licence is suspended, you run the risk of being arrested and charged with the same offense again - to face increasingly more serious consequences.

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