How does a driving on a suspended or revoked license turn into a feloy:
An otherwise misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license can be charged or upgraded to a felony based upon the facts of the case and or based upon a prior conviction for the same offense.
A felony based on the facts:
If your involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving when your license is suspended or revoked and your responsible for an collision that causes personal injury the charge will likely be charged or upgraded to a Class 4 felony.
A felony based upon prior conviction:
If you have been previously convicted of driving without a license because and you are found to be driving again without a license, the police officer or state’s attorney can charge this new case as a felony.
How to prevent a driving charge from being upgraded:
Driving on a suspended or revoked license charge usually are initially filed as a misdemeanor and are only upgraded after the first court appearance. Provided the is the case, as an attorney I would would to resolve the case on the first court appearance when the charge is still a misdemeanor and not allow the prosecutor the opportunity to upgrade the charge.
Once the charge is a felony, how to have it reduced:
Just because your charged with a felony does not mean that it has to remain a felony. It is very common to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. The prosecutor does not automatically reduce the charge but by filing pre-trial motions and moving forward to a trial, the prosecutor is more likely to reduce the charge.
You can read the full law on driving on a suspended or revoked license here.