Can Your Ticket Become a Reckless Driving Charge?

When you receive a ticket for reckless driving, it is often an officer’s way of alerting you to the fact that your behavior puts others in danger. Relatively speaking, as far as citations and charges go, it is often little more than a slap on the wrist.

However, some people get ticketed with reckless driving charges instead. This is not a civil infraction like speeding tickets, but a misdemeanor, meaning it comes along with harsher penalties. Exactly what constitutes reckless driving, though?

What is reckless driving?

The Illinois General Assembly reports about the state’s reckless driving laws. Specifically, it notes that in most cases, the definition of reckless driving often falls to the interpretation of the officer. This may differ significantly from what a driver believes is reckless.

For example, a driver may be speeding, but an officer will note if any other traffic laws end up broken at the same time. For example, driving the wrong way down a one-way road, street racing, and driving at speeds over the posted limit may all constitute reckless behavior especially when present together.

In some areas, even just speeding without any other infractions counts as reckless driving if you go a certain speed over the max limit.

The role of officer discretion

When an officer pulls someone over for a driving infraction, they will decide if that infraction constitutes reckless driving, too. Generally speaking, recklessness implies that the driver knowingly engaged in behavior that is generally unsafe or dangerous.

Strangely enough, the law does directly address airborne vehicles, though. If you try to replicate a movie stunt or do anything else that causes your vehicle to lift away from the road, you will automatically face reckless driving charges.