When you get a traffic ticket for running a red light or speeding a few miles per hour above the speed limit, you may be inclined to simply plead guilty, pay the fine, and move on with your life. For relatively minor moving violations, such an approach is understandable and even reasonable. Sometimes, however, a traffic violation can be serious enough to incur actual criminal charges. One such violation is reckless driving.
What Is Reckless Driving?
The offense of reckless driving can encompass a wide variety of unsafe driving behaviors. Illinois law defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The law also specifies that reckless driving includes using “an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.”
The second definition is fairly straightforward, but the first is certainly open to interpretation. A conviction requires prosecutors to prove that the driver acted with a complete lack of consideration for others—or that he or she intentionally placed others at risk.
A police officer could potentially cite you for reckless driving if you were:
- Driving dangerously while significantly exceeding the speed limit;
- Failing to yield the right of way;
- Passing other vehicles by weaving in and out of travel lanes;
- Operating your car without proper front and rear lights;
- Failing to signal before changing lanes or making a turn; or
- Ignoring stop signs, traffic lights, or other signs and signals.
You are probably wondering what will happen if you are convicted of reckless driving. While our experienced team works hard to minimize the potential impact of a reckless driving charge—or to have them dropped completely—sometimes, escaping the consequences may not be possible. Reckless driving is a usually a Class A misdemeanor, which means that a conviction could leave you facing up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A conviction will also remain on your permanent record.
Your driving privileges will probably not be suspended for a reckless driving charge alone. If you have other traffic violations on your record in the last year, however, a conviction could result in a license suspension.
Our Office Can Help
If you have been cited or charged with reckless driving, keep in mind that it is a criminal offense and that you need a skilled Will County traffic violations attorney on your side. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba. We will work with you in protecting your rights and your future. Contact us today.