When Can a Driver Be Charged with Reckless Driving?

reckless driving, Rolling Meadows traffic violations attorneyMost drivers have been guilty of bending the rules of the road at least a time or two. Perhaps they were running late for an important meeting, so they drove a few miles above the speed limit or only came to a rolling stop at a stop sign. Usually, minor traffic violations do not result in significant negative consequences for the driver and only bring a ticket and moderate fine. However, there are some traffic violations which can be quite serious and could even result in a felony charge or jail time. Reckless driving is one of these violations.

How is Reckless Driving Defined in Illinois?

When one hears the term “reckless driving,” they may think of the type of outrageous stunts performed on movies like The Fast and The Furious. In reality, reckless driving can include any driving action which endangers the lives of other drivers or pedestrians. The Illinois criminal code defines reckless as when a motorist drives “any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline in a roadway…to cause the vehicle to become airborne.” The second half of the definition does not contain much ambiguity. If a person tries to use a ramp or other means to make their car lose contact with the ground, he or she could be charged with reckless driving. The first half of the definition is more subjective.

Willful Disregard for Safety

Reckless driving is a crime because of the danger it poses to those in the vehicle as well as outside of it. Actions which may be considered reckless driving or contribute to a reckless driving charge include

  • Driving which shows negligence or reckless disregard for others;
  • Deliberately failing to yield to other vehicles or to pedestrians;
  • Excessive speeding;
  • Running red lights or stop signs;
  • Street racing;
  • Evading police;
  • Crossing over a double yellow line on a two-lane highway;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI);
  • Passing a stopped school bus; and
  • Texting while driving.

Often, reckless driving is charged along with other violations such as driving under the influence (DUI).

Consequences for Reckless Driving in Illinois

If you are convicted of reckless driving in Illinois, it is generally a Class A misdemeanor charge.  This conviction can incur punishments including up to one-year imprisonment, up to two years of probation, and a maximum fine of $2,500. If the reckless driving causes serious injury or death, the charge is increased to “aggravated reckless driving” which may be considered a Class 3 or Class 4 felony depending on the circumstances.

Speak to a Traffic Violations Attorney for Help

If you are facing reckless driving charges, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney for help. To schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley, call 847-253-3100.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-503

https://www.dmv.org/safety-laws/reckless-driving.php

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