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Reckless Driving Tickets in Illinois

Updated on January 16, 2022 → Under

Illinois law says that reckless driving is any activity while driving a motor vehicle that blatantly puts others in danger of injury or death. Reckless driving is not a simple traffic offense, it is a serious charge carrying the potential for prison time, fines, and a misdemeanor conviction. It also is something that can be easy to commit yourself to in the event of tired or distracted driving should you find yourself going over the speed limit or not coming to a full stop. In the right circumstances, anyone could find themselves receiving a citation for reckless driving in Illinois. 

If you are dealing with reckless driving tickets, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a conviction can have a major impact on your life, and you should act quickly and work with the best legal counsel available to navigate your case. Contact an attorney at Dohman Law Group today for a free initial consultation to see how we can help you!

Illinois Reckless Driving Law

Illinois reckless driving law is governed by the Illinois Vehicle Code, statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503. The statute defines reckless driving through the following:

  • A person driving their vehicle with wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. 
  • A person knowingly and intentionally using an incline such as a railroad crossing to get their vehicle airborne. 

Reckless driving is enforced through traffic citations issued by a police officer who observes reckless behavior. 

Is Reckless Driving a Felony?

No. In Illinois reckless driving is listed as a Class A misdemeanor. Punishment for a reckless driving conviction can be:

  • Up to 364 days in county jail and/or 
  • $2,500 in fines, not counting court costs

These punishments are the fullest extent of punishment in the form of jail time and fines you can face for a reckless driving charge in Illinois. A conviction will also result in a 1 point penalty on your driver's license.

Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction

Reckless driving charges in Illinois can carry a number of serious repercussions. Alongside the ticket, possible fines, and jail time, you will receive points on your license if convicted. Points will typically be reported to your insurance company, which can result in higher premiums. Higher insurance premiums can have you spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars more on your automobile insurance over the course of a year. The exact amount will vary depending on your insurance provider and driving record.

With the classification of reckless driving as a Class A misdemeanor, a raise to your insurance premium is highly likely. You should contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to minimize the impact a reckless driving charge can have on you.

Reckless Driving Supervision

You may be able to get supervision for a reckless driving charge in place of a conviction. If you receive court-ordered supervision you will no longer be eligible for supervision in the event of other reckless driving or driving under the influence charges in your lifetime.

Reckless Driving Tickets

Long Term Consequences

Reckless driving convictions will not result in a license suspension unless you already have two strikes. Illinois operates as a three-strike state for moving violations. If you receive 3 within a 12 month period you will have your driver's license suspended.

If you receive a reckless driving conviction as your third strike it is not an automatic suspension in the state of Illinois. Your license may still be suspended, but the suspension will not be assigned automatically.

A reckless driving conviction will result in points being added to your driving record. When this information is passed off to your insurance company, it will likely result in an increase in your yearly spending on insurance rates.

Learn More: How Long Does a Traffic Offense Stay on Your Record?

Examples of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is broadly defined in Illinois law. This allows for a fairly open interpretation of what does or does not constitute reckless driving.

Examples of reckless and dangerous behavior that can result in charges include: 

  • Using your phone while driving
  • Changing lanes without allowing enough room
  • Swerving between lanes or erratic driving
  • Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Racing
  • Speeding through construction or school zones
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians or school buses

While an adult driver will be judged on the three-strike system in Illinois, a driver under the age of 21 will immediately have their license suspended after a reckless driving conviction. 

Effects of Reckless Driving Tickets

Reckless driving can have a wide number of effects, both on you and others. This includes consequences both on the road and off. Reckless driving can result in serious car accidents that can cause severe bodily harm, permanent disability, or death. A reckless driver who causes an injury will be required to pay compensation to those they injure in addition to damages for the victim's vehicle. 

If a reckless driver kills another person in a car accident the consequences will be far more severe. The offending driver can face vehicular manslaughter charges and felony punishments including jail time, in addition to heavy fines and compensation to the deceased's family.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

Reckless driving can have many different consequences if you are convicted. Having the help of a knowledgeable and experienced traffic lawyer from Dohman Law Group can protect you from harsh punishment. If you are facing criminal charges for reckless driving, it is in your best interest to retain the services of a qualified Illinois traffic violations attorney. Our legal team at Dohman Law Group has the experience you will need to aggressively fight your charge. Call us today or schedule an appointment online for a free case consultation. 

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