In addition to driving under the influence (DUI), the Illinois Vehicle Code prohibits other dangerous driving behavior. Reckless driving is one of these traffic offenses that can result in misdemeanor or felony charges and penalties that include jail or prison time and criminal fines.
How Does Illinois Define Reckless Driving?
The Illinois definition of reckless driving appears under 625 ILCS 5/11-503. This section establishes two different versions of reckless driving.
First, a person commits reckless driving under Section 11-503 if they drive any vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property.
Second, a person commits reckless driving under Section 11-503 if they knowingly drive any vehicle and use an incline in a road — including but not necessarily limited to a bridge approach, hill, or railroad crossing — to send their vehicle airborne.
What is the Illinois Punishment for Reckless Driving?
The Illinois punishment for reckless driving also appears under Section 11-503. At a minimum, reckless driving is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted for this misdemeanor in Illinois, the maximum punishment includes $2,500 in criminal fines and 12 months in jail.
On the other hand, reckless driving can become a Class 4 felony. The felony version of this offense applies if the driver causes bodily harm to:
- A child; or
- A school crossing guard in the performance of their official duties.
If convicted of a Class 4 felony in Illinois, the punishment can include up to $25,000 in criminal fines and one to three years in prison.
How Does Illinois Define Aggravated Reckless Driving?
The Illinois definition of aggravated reckless driving appears under Section 11-503. A standard reckless driving crime becomes aggravated reckless driving if the offender causes serious bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a victim.
What is the Illinois Punishment for Aggravated Reckless Driving?
The Illinois punishment for aggravated reckless driving also appears under Section 11-503. At a minimum, aggravated reckless driving is generally charged as a Class 4 felony and is punishable, as explained above.
That being said, aggravated reckless driving can become a Class 3 felony. The enhanced felony version of this offense applies if:
- The driver causes serious bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; and
- The victim is a child or a school crossing guard in the performance of their official duties.
If convicted of a Class 3 felony in Illinois, the punishment can include up to $25,000 in criminal fines and two to five years in prison.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense is, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by completing an online form.