Did hurrying lead to a reckless driving charge?

Everyone gets in too much of a hurry from time to time. Whether you consume your lunch in minutes in hopes of saving time or cut corners during a project just to reach the end, you typically end up with some sort of negative result. While hiccups from eating too quickly may seem like an insignificant payoff for saving some time, you could face more serious consequences if you get in too much of a hurry while driving.

While traveling slightly over the speed limit may not yield substantial punishment, excessive speed or dangerous maneuvers could be deemed reckless driving by police officers. If an officer believes that you have unnecessarily put your life and the lives of others in harm’s way with your driving, you could face a traffic stop and criminal charges.

Officer discretion

Various actions could potentially fall into the category of reckless driving. In fact, it is often up to the discretion of the officer involved in the traffic stop as to whether such a charge suits the situation. This discretion comes into play because most states do not provide specific maneuvers that constitute reckless driving. As a result, the expectation exists that the officer involved will consider various aspects to determine whether the charge applies. Some of those factors include:

  • Road conditions
  • Traffic
  • Pedestrian presence in the area

Other factors will likely also go into consideration to determine how dangerous the driver’s actions were at the time.

Specific examples of reckless driving

Of course, some states, including Illinois, do specify certain actions as reckless, though officer discretion can still have its place. Some specific behaviors typically considered reckless include:

  • Excessive speed, i.e. 20-25 mph over the speed limit
  • Racing on public streets
  • Attempting to pass another vehicle on a hill or other area with limited view
  • Driving aggressively, e.g. tailgating or cutting off other drivers
  • Failing to comply with traffic regulations
  • Performing stunts on public roadways

If you do face a citation or charge for reckless driving, the outcome of your case could depend on its specific circumstances. Fortunately, you do have options for defending against traffic violation charges, and gaining information on your defense options may help you determine what course of action you may want to take when it comes to addressing any allegations brought against you.