Similar to DUI, reckless driving under Illinois law is a criminal offense that involves dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Any person who endangers other people or property on the roads can face criminal charges for regular or aggravated reckless driving.
How Does Illinois Define Reckless Driving?
The Illinois definition of reckless driving appears at 625 ILCS 5/11-503. Under this section, a person commits reckless driving if they:
- Operate a vehicle in willful or wanton manner that endangers the safety of people or property; or
- Knowingly send a vehicle airborne using an incline, such as a bridge approach, hill, or railroad crossing.
Concerning the second item above, the knowledge requirement is significant. A person must know — or have a reason to know — that they are using an incline to send their vehicle airborne. An accidental or unintentional act that sends a vehicle airborne does not generally qualify as reckless driving in Illinois.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in IL?
Section 11-503 also establishes the Illinois penalties for reckless driving. Under this section, reckless driving is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The Illinois punishment for this class of misdemeanor includes a maximum of 364 days in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, reckless driving can become a Class 4 felony. The felony version of this offense applies when there is also bodily harm to a child or school crossing guard in the performance of their official duties. The Illinois punishment for this class of felony includes one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines.
How Does Illinois Define Aggravated Reckless Driving?
The Illinois definition of aggravated reckless driving also appears under Section 11-503. The aggravated version of this offense applies when a person commits reckless driving and also inflicts great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to a victim.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Reckless Driving in IL?
Section 11-503 also furnishes the Illinois penalties for aggravated reckless driving. Under this section, aggravated reckless driving is typically charged as a Class 4 felony, punishable as explained above.
On the other hand, aggravated reckless driving can become a Class 3 felony. This elevated charge applies when there is great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to a child or school crossing guard in the performance of their official duties. The Illinois punishment for this class of felony includes two to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, 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, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.