What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is not safe for you or others on the roadway. Specifically, Illinois law describes reckless driving as driving that is either:
- In wanton or willful disregard for the safety of other people or personal property; or
- Knowingly using an incline in the roadway, such as a hill, to make a motor vehicle become airborne.
Reckless driving is not the same as careless driving. Reckless driving describes more dangerous behavior than careless driving and is thus charged more severely than careless driving. If you are facing a reckless driving charge, contact an experienced traffic violation defense lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your defense strategy.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Many different actions constitute reckless driving. These include:
- Racing other vehicles;
- Excessive speeding;
- Attempting to elude law enforcement in a motor vehicle;
- Intentionally driving through a red light or stop sign;
- Passing other vehicles over a double yellow line;
- Passing a stopped school bus; and
- Text messaging while driving.
Illinois law does not designate specific behaviors as reckless driving. Rather, the court has the discretion to determine whether a driver’s actions were reckless.
Charges and Penalties for Reckless Driving
In most cases, reckless driving is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor conviction carries the following penalties:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500.
There are circumstances under which reckless driving may be charged as a felony. These are:
- If the act of reckless driving causes a child or a crossing guard performing his or her job duty to suffer an injury, the driver faces a Class 4 felony charge;
- When an act of reckless driving causes a victim to suffer severe bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, the driver may be charged with a Class 4 felony; and
- If the driver causes a child or a crossing guard performing his or her duties to suffer a severe bodily injury, permanent disfigurement, or a permanent disability through an act of reckless driving, he or she may face a Class 3 felony charge.
In Illinois, a Class 4 felony conviction is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. A Class 3 felony is punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Traffic Violation Defense Attorney
You can fight a traffic charge in court. If you are facing a reckless driving charge, contact our team of experienced Naperville traffic violation defense lawyers at Donahue & Sowa today to set up your initial legal consultation with us. We can answer any questions you have and start working with you to fight the charge and potentially have it lowered or dismissed, sparing you the penalties that come with a reckless driving conviction.