What Is a Reckless Driving Charge?

Many people do not know that bad driving behaviors can lead to more than just a traffic ticket. In some cases, reckless actions on the road can result in a criminal charge.

Here is what motorists need to know about reckless driving in the state of Illinois.

What is reckless driving?

Illinois legislation specifically prohibits reckless driving. A driver is guilty of this charge when he or she operates a vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of person or property.”

Many different actions can fall under the category of reckless driving, including road rage, speeding, texting, and racing. Because this law is fairly broad and subjective, just about any negligent behavior on the road could lead to this criminal charge.

What are the potential consequences?

Reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor with potentially serious consequences. A motorist could face up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Drivers aged 21 and over will not lose their license after a first conviction. However, they will receive a point on their driving record. After three points, the state will suspend their license. Drivers under 21 will lose their license after a single conviction. The penalties are higher if the reckless behavior caused bodily harm or property damage.

Even if a motorist avoids incarceration and a fine, reckless driving can have far-reaching repercussions. A conviction stays on the driver’s record for multiple years, leading to significantly higher auto insurance rates and often preventing commercial driving activities.