A charge of reckless driving can be a kind of catch-all offense for police. It can cover everything from excessive speeding to swerving around corners to weaving in and out of traffic. Although less serious than a DUI, it can still have significant consequences.

In Illinois, the most common definition of reckless driving is someone who uses or drives a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” (Illinois Compiled Statutes, see 625 ILCS 11-503.) A secondary definition is using an incline such as a railroad crossing or hill to make your car become airborne.

Reckless driving in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If your driving injures a child or a school crossing guard, however, you can be charged with a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in jail.

If your driving causes great bodily harm or permanent disability to someone, you can be charged with Aggravated Reckless Driving, also a Class 4 Felony. If great bodily harm occurs to a child or school crossing guard, then the Aggravated Reckless can be enhanced to a Class 3 Felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in jail.

If you are charged with Reckless Driving, contact a criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can help determine the most effective strategy for your defense. As with almost every other crime, the State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney can spot weaknesses in the State’s case. Was your driving really willful and wanton, or were you swerving to avoid an accident? Did anyone witness your driving, or did the officer arrive after you were in an accident?

Even if the officer nailed you performing the most insane stunts imaginable, an experienced attorney may negotiate a better plea bargain than you could get on your own. Sometimes taking a plea for reckless driving is better than the alternative, especially if you are negotiating to avoid another serious charge such as DUI.

If you are charged with reckless driving, do not speak to police or anyone else about your case. Any statements you make could be used against you later in court and could impair the defense of you case.

If you have questions about this or another criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt
Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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