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Reckless Driving Charge Needs Proof of Intent

Posted on in Traffic Offenses

Reckless Driving Charge Needs Proof of IntentReckless driving is one of the more serious traffic offenses that you can be charged with. Illinois law defines reckless driving as a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of yourself and others. Examples of reckless driving include:

  • Traveling 35 miles per hour or more over the speed limit;
  • Swerving between lanes without signaling; and
  • Using an incline to become airborne.

A reckless driving conviction is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by as long as one year in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500. The charge becomes aggravated reckless driving — a class 4 felony — if someone is injured as a result of your reckless driving. Defending yourself against a reckless driving charge requires forcing prosecutors to provide evidence of your alleged driving behavior.

Pushing for Specifics

When you contest your reckless driving charge, prosecutors must explain what you did that constituted reckless driving and present proof of their accusations. There are typically three forms of evidence in a reckless driving case:

  • Eyewitness reports;
  • Video footage; and
  • Radar gun readings.

You can contest the credibility of any of these forms of evidence being able to prove that your driving was reckless. Witnesses and video cameras may have seen the incident from an angle that is misleading. Individuals can misremember or misinterpret what they saw. You can request that the prosecution confirm that the radar gun was calibrated and giving accurate speed readings at the time of the incident.

Negligent Driving

Prosecutors may be loose in applying the term “willful or wanton disregard” to driving behavior that it deems as reckless. You can interpret the term as meaning that someone intentionally drove in a reckless manner or had an open disregard for safety. The prosecution will have greater difficulty proving your intent while driving than your actions. You can argue that your driving was negligent instead of reckless. Negligent driving means that your lack of reasonable caution while driving unintentionally endangered others. It is a petty offense with a lesser fine and no jail time. There are other lesser charges that you can plea to, depending on the circumstances of your incident.

Your Defense

Contesting a reckless driving charge can mean the difference between having a criminal conviction or a traffic ticket on your record. The addition of either to your driving record can eventually result in your driver’s license being suspended if you commit other traffic offenses. However, the punishment for reckless driving is much greater. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you argue that your driving was not reckless. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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