A charge of reckless driving can be a kind of catch-all offense for police. It can cover everything from excessive speeding to swerving around corners to weaving in and out of traffic. Although less serious than a DUI, it can still have significant consequences.

In Illinois, the most common definition of reckless driving is someone who uses or drives a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-503.)  A secondary definition is using an incline such as a railroad crossing or hill to make your car  airborne.

Reckless driving in Illinois is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If your driving injures a child or a school crossing guard, however, you can be charged with a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in jail.

If your driving causes great bodily harm or permanent disability to someone, you can be charged with Aggravated Reckless Driving, also a Class 4 Felony. If great bodily harm occurs to a child or school crossing guard, then the Aggravated Reckless can be enhanced to a Class 3 Felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in jail.

If you are charged with reckless driving or a similar offense, contact an experienced traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can help determine the most effective strategy for your defense. As with most crimes, the State must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Was your driving really willful and wanton, or were you swerving to avoid an accident? Did anyone witness your driving, or did the officer arrive after  an accident?  Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an  attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Matt Keenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 24 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery…

A criminal and school law attorney with over 24 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU, Illinois State Bar Association.