Don’t Get Caught Reckless Driving in Chicago

If you are charged with reckless driving, it’s more serious than a simple traffic offense – it’s a charge that can carry prison time and hefty fines. In each case of reckless driving, it is up to the police to determine whether a person is driving in a dangerous manner.

Examples of behaviors that may constitute reckless driving are:

  • Traveling at a high rate of speed;
  • Swerving lanes erratically;
  • Failing to signal

If you get pulled over for reckless driving, you may simply receive a ticket and a stern warning. However, if the officer determines your driving was particularly dangerous, you may get arrested and charged with a crime.

What Happens After Receiving a Citation for Reckless Driving?

The first thing to understand is the language of the law itself. 625 ILCS 5/11-503 can either be charged as reckless driving or aggravated reckless driving, depending on what the ticketing officer observes and charges you with. The language of the law:

Sec. 11-503. Reckless driving; aggravated reckless driving.

(a) A person commits reckless driving if he or she:
    (1) drives any vehicle with the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
    (2) knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.
(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor except as provided under subsections (b-1), (c), and (d) of this Section.

If you are issued a citation for reckless driving in Chicago, you will need an attorney to help you to reduce or eliminate expensive fines, penalties and the possibility of jail time.

  • Consequences of Class A misdemeanors
  • Up to 364 days in the Cook County Department of Corrections;
  • Fine of up to $2,500 or
  • Combination of both.

Officers make judgment calls based on the totality of the circumstances. Typically, when an officer issues a reckless driving citation in Chicago, there are usually one or more additional citations issued. These can include speeding, improper lane change, failure to signal, failure to stop at a stop sign or stop light, failure to reduce speed and more. Whether or not an accident occurs is immaterial.

If You Are Stopped for Reckless Driving

Because this citation is at least a Class A misdemeanor, you will receive a court date, which you must attend, or risk a judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. You can also be placed under arrest, which will require you to post bond and have your vehicle towed and impounded. In a best-case scenario, an officer my issue you an I-bond, where you don’t have to post any money down and the officer may choose not to tow and impound your vehicle.

Once You Are in Court

A judge will question if you have retained an attorney, or if you need time to hire one, in which case, they will grant you a continuance. If you have already hired an attorney, they will file their appearance and discuss your case with the State’s Attorneys.

A skilled attorney can negotiate a disposition or plea, which could include court supervision, or a plea on a lesser included offense. Lesser included offenses can be any of the other petty, or non-criminal citations issued along with the reckless driving misdemeanor charge. Petty offenses are only punishable by fines and court costs, not jail time. Keep in mind, if you are charged with reckless driving, as well as other multiple citations, it is extremely unlikely the State’s Attorneys will be willing to dismiss your case.

If a negotiated plea deal is not something you want, the alternative is to go to trial, which can be risky. If you have multiple citations, you will go to trial on every citation issued. Either a judge or jury will decide your fate on each count. If found guilty, your sentence is at the discretion of the court.

Felony Reckless Driving

Under certain conditions, reckless driving can also be charged as felony reckless driving. These conditions are codified under subsections (b) through (d) are:

(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, except as provided under subsections (b-1), (c), and (d) of this Section.

(b-1) Except as provided in subsection (d), and person convicted of violating
    subsection (a), if the violation causes bodily harm to a child or a school
    crossing guard while the school crossing guard is performing his or her
    official duties is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(c) Every person convicted of committing a violation of subsection (a) shall be guilty of aggravated reckless driving if the violation results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Section, aggravated reckless driving is a Class 4 felony.

(d) Any person convicted of violating subsection (a), if the violation causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a child or a school crossing guard while the school crossing guard is performing his or her official duties is guilty of aggravated reckless driving. Aggravated reckless driving under this subsection (d) is a Class 3 felony.

In Illinois, felonies charges are also criminal charges. However, unlike Class A misdemeanors, penalties for a Class 4 felony include the possibility of 1 to 3 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Class 3 felonies are more serious and are punishable by 3-7 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. There is the possibility of receiving court probation on felony charges, however, these types of reckless driving are significantly more serious than misdemeanor reckless driving charges.

Charged with Reckless Driving in Chicago? Contact Driver Defense Team

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, or a felony reckless driving charge in Chicago, there can be long-term consequences for your actions and you are going to need the assistance of an attorney. Our legal team at Driver Defense Team has the knowledge and experience to represent you for these types of cases and charges. Call us today at (312) 940-8330. Driver Defense Team is ready to assist with your case.

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