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Reckless driving isn’t always a traffic ticket offense in Illinois

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Traffic Tickets

Some traffic stops end with a police officer warning a driver that they need to get new tags on their vehicle, repair an issue or alter their driving habits. Other times, an officer who initiates a traffic stop will issue a citation or traffic ticket for a violation of one of Illinois’ many road safety laws.

Excessive speed, failing to use turn signals and rolling through a stop sign are examples of driving choices that might lead to an officer issuing a traffic citation. For a handful of people stopped by the police, this interaction will result in a criminal charge rather than a simple ticket.

Most people recognize that drunk driving leads to arrest, not a ticket. The same is actually true of reckless driving offenses. Reckless driving is generally categorized as a criminal offense, not a minor traffic violation. If an officer determines that your conduct constitutes reckless driving, they can potentially arrest you or at least issue a summons that will lead to you face criminal charges in court.

What are the consequences of reckless driving?

Illinois prosecutes reckless driving as a Class A misdemeanor offense. If convicted, you could face up to a year in state custody and you may have to fine up to $2,500 in fines. You can also expect to pay significantly increased costs for insurance, and you may have to attend traffic school and perform community service as well.

If the state can justify charging you with aggravated reckless driving, which involves someone causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone, you will face felony charges. Aggravated reckless driving could mean up to three years in prison and $25,000 in fines. There are even enhanced penalties for aggravated reckless driving depending on who gets hurt.

How should drivers respond to reckless driving allegations?

There are numerous ways in which a driver might fight back against claims that their behavior at the wheel was reckless. The driver can counter the claim that they acted with wanton disregard for the safety of others or intentionally made their vehicle become airborne. Sometimes, there could be an explanation for an unusual action while driving, such as an emergency, an issue with a vehicle or an unexpected medical event.

Talking about what led to allegations of reckless driving and looking at what evidence the state has against you can help you determine the most effective defense strategy in your case. These charges should be taken seriously, so make sure to devise a plan of action quickly.