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The Consequences of Reckless Driving in Illinois

Posted on in Traffic Offenses

The Consequences of Reckless Driving in IllinoisPatrons at Woodfield Mall in suburban Chicago were alarmed when an SUV drove through the indoor shopping center, damaging several displays before it came to a stop at a pillar. The vehicle did not hit anyone, though three people were taken to the hospital. As of the last reporting on the story, the driver was in custody at a behavioral health center and would not be charged until he was released. Police said they do not know if it was a planned attack or if the driver has a mental illness, which could determine what the man is charged with. At the very least, the incident seems to qualify as reckless driving.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Illinois’ criminal code defines reckless driving as:

  • Driving with a willful or wanton disregard for people or property; or
  • Intentionally using an incline to become airborne, such as a hill, bridge approach, or railroad crossing.

Traveling over the speed limit by 35 miles per hour or more is also reckless driving. The charge can become aggravated if the driver injures someone during the incident. If the driver was legally intoxicated, then the charge will be driving under the influence instead.

What Are the Penalties?

A reckless driving conviction is a Class A misdemeanor in most cases, which is punishable by as long as a year in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500. The conviction is elevated to a felony when specified injuries occur:

  • Injuring a child or an on-duty school crossing guard is a Class 4 felony;
  • Greatly injuring anyone or causing permanent disfigurement or disability is also a Class 4 felony; and
  • Greatly injuring, disfiguring or disabling a child or on-duty school crossing guard is a Class 3 felony.

A reckless driving conviction will not result in a driver’s license suspension on its own. Illinois has a points system in which three moving violations within 12 months will cause an automatic driver’s license suspension. Drivers younger than 21 can have only two violations before a suspension. Each violation is assigned points that determine how long the suspension will last. A reckless driving conviction has the highest number of points of moving violations that do not require an immediate suspension.

Contact a Crystal Lake Criminal Defense Attorney

How you view a reckless driving charge depends on your alternatives. For instance, a reckless driving conviction is preferable to a DUI conviction. A McHenry County criminal defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can assess whether you may be able to beat your reckless driving charge. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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