Traffic violations are not uncommon. Millions of people each year are issued citations and tickets for breaking traffic laws. Most of the time, these tickets just require the driver to pay a specified fine. In some cases, the driver may have to appear in traffic court to settle the issue. In other cases, a police officer might perform an arrest at a traffic stop if he or she believes the offense was serious enough. One such charge that warrants an arrest in the majority of cases is reckless driving, which is considered a misdemeanor charge in Illinois. But what exactly does the offense of reckless driving mean?
According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, reckless driving occurs when a person does one of the following actions:
Drives a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard” for other drivers’ safety or other people’s property
Knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline, such as a hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne
Because of the broad definition, there are multiple actions and behaviors that could constitute a reckless driving charge. Examples of reckless driving include:
Disregarding traffic laws
Acts of negligence while driving
It is up to the arresting police officer, the judge, and perhaps a jury to determine whether or not particular actions or behaviors constitute reckless driving.
Most of the time, reckless driving will be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. This means a person could face up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines for a reckless driving conviction. Additionally, a person convicted of reckless driving can face a driver’s license suspension or revocation.
In certain circumstances, the misdemeanor can be increased to a felony charge. Reckless driving can be a Class 4 felony if the violation causes bodily harm to a child or to a crossing guard who is on duty. Someone can also be charged with a Class 4 felony if great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to anyone results from the violation. Class 4 felonies can result in up to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If the violation results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a child or crossing guard, then the crime is a Class 3 felony, which can result in up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Reckless driving is a serious charge in Illinois that could affect your life in various ways. Because one of the criteria in a reckless driving charge is the disregard for others’ safety, judges do not take kindly to these charges and will often try to sentence you to the full extent of the law if you are found guilty. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has decades of experience defending clients against many traffic violations. Call our knowledgeable Rolling Meadows, IL traffic violation lawyer today at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation.
Client accused of burglary was acquitted due to our skillful cross examination of eye witness identification.
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Client accused of first degree murder - Acquitted.
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