In Illinois, a person can be convicted of “reckless driving” for:
- driving a vehicle with “a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” or
- knowingly using an incline in a roadway to jump a vehicle.
The statute uses the term “willful” to refer to conduct that’s intentional or purposeful. And “wanton disregard” basically means the person understood the conduct was risky but chose to do it anyway.
Reckless Driving Penalties
The possible consequences of an Illinois reckless driving conviction depend on whether there was:
- anyone injured
- who was injured, and
- the extent of injuries.
But generally, a motorist who’s convicted of reckless driving faces the possibility of jail time, probation, and fines.
Standard Reckless Driving
Reckless driving offenses do not involve injuries are class A misdemeanors. A conviction carries up to one year in jail, a maximum of two years of probation, and fines of up to $2,500.
Reckless Driving Involving Injuries
All reckless driving offenses that involve injuries are felonies. The possible penalties for a conviction are:
- Minor injuries to a child or crossing guard. A reckless driving offense involving minor injuries to a child or an on-duty crossing guard is a class 4 felony. Generally, a class 4 felony carries one to three years in prison, a maximum of 30 months on probation, and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Serious injuries to another (“aggravated reckless driving”). A driver who causes “great bodily harm” or permanent disability or disfigurement to another while driving recklessly is guilty of “aggravated reckless driving” and a class 4 felony. (See penalties above.)
- Serious injuries to a child or crossing guard (aggravated reckless driving). A driver who causes “great bodily harm” or permanent disability or disfigurement to a child or an on-duty crossing guard while driving recklessly is guilty of “aggravated reckless driving” and a class 3 felony. A conviction generally carries two to five years in prison, a maximum of 30 months on probation, and up to $25,000 in fines.
- Deaths. A reckless driving offense that results in the death of another person will likely lead to reckless homicide charges.
Reckless Driving and DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)
In Illinois, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with driving under the influence (DUI) to plea bargain for a lesser charge. When a DUI is plea-bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”
Talk to an Attorney
The consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Illinois are serious, especially when the offense involved injuries. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.