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Understanding Illinois Reckless Driving Charges

What is Reckless Driving?Most American drivers will be pulled over by police at least once in their lifetime. Most of the time, the reason you are pulled over is because of a small moving violation, like speeding or not fully stopping at a stop sign. These stops usually end with the officer issuing you a ticket that carries a fine that you must pay within a specific time period. In other situations, the officer may arrest you because they feel that you have done something too serious to warrant just a fine. Offenses of this nature can be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, street racing or what is called reckless driving.

What is Reckless Driving?

The Illinois Vehicle Code states that reckless driving occurs when a person drives his or her vehicle with “willful and wanton disregard” for the safety of other drivers or other people’s property. It also states that reckless driving can occur if a person drives a vehicle and uses an incline such as a railroad crossing, hill or bridge approach to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

There is no comprehensive list of the type of behaviors that are automatically assumed to be reckless driving. This is left up to the discretion of the arresting police officer, the judge assigned to your case and the jury. Examples of reckless driving can include:

  • Speeding;
  • Erratic driving or lane changes;
  • Breaking traffic laws, such as running red lights or street racing; and
  • General negligent driving.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?

If you are charged with reckless driving, chances are you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, Class A misdemeanors carry a jail sentence of up to one year and fines of up to $2,500. You will also face a driver’s license suspension or revocation.

In certain situations, your reckless driving charge can be increased to a felony charge. If your reckless driving actions caused bodily harm to a child or a school crossing guard, you can be charged with a Class 4 felony. You can also be charged with a Class 4 felony if any person suffers great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement. Class 4 felonies carry a prison sentence of up to three years and fines of up to $25,000. Causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a child or school crossing guard can result in a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and up to $25,000 in fines.

Seek Help From a Cook County Reckless Driving Defense Attorney

Reckless driving is an offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony in some circumstances. Either way, the charge carries the very real possibility of jail time, which is why it is important for you to contact an Orland Park, IL, reckless driving defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you fight for your right to drive. Call our office today at 708-942-8400 to schedule a free consultation.


Illinois Compiled Statutes

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