Are you an Illinois driver who likes to push the pedal to the metal? Well, it’s time to put on the brakes. Aggravated reckless driving carries some punitive consequences in the Land of Lincoln. Whether you are a first-time offender or one with prior offenses, all drivers should be aware of what can happen when they engage in reckless behavior while behind the wheel.
This insightful article will cover Illinois's current laws and penalties associated with aggravated reckless driving. We will explain what constitutes this serious offense and its legal implications, as well as provide practical advice on how to avoid becoming a repeat offender. Call now and speak to a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago today!
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Reckless Driving in Illinois
Generally, aggravated reckless driving is defined by Illinois state laws as the willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property while operating a motor vehicle.
According to Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503, a person commits aggravated reckless driving if they knowingly operate a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. This is defined as operating a vehicle in such a manner that it demonstrates an awareness of and conscious indifference to the severe consequences that could result from one's actions.
Statistics show that the majority of these offenses occur when a speed limit is exceeded by 20 miles per hour or more, resulting in serious injury or death to another.
This includes any act that puts others in danger, such as weaving in and out of traffic or driving too close to other vehicles. It also includes any act that is deemed reckless or careless, such as speeding or failing to abide by traffic signs and signals.
In addition to illegally exceeding the speed limit, aggravated reckless driving can also include such behaviors as passing where prohibited, failing to yield right-of-way, or disregarding traffic signs and signals.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Illinois
Aggravated reckless driving is a very serious offense in Illinois. If you are convicted of this misdemeanor, you face severe penalties such as jail time and license suspension, as well as heavy fines. This offense applies to dangerous behaviors such as driving recklessly around railroad crossings or causing bodily harm or permanent disability to another person. Even if it is your first offense, you will be at risk of being arrested by a police officer and having your driving privileges revoked.
In addition, drivers may also be ordered to perform community service or attend traffic safety courses. Furthermore, offenders can have their license suspended for up to two years and may even be required to install an ignition interlock device, which prevents a vehicle from starting or continuing to operate unless the driver has a breath sample that proves they are sober. It means that even after your jail sentence is complete, you still have to take certain measures to ensure that you are a safe driver.
How Can I Avoid Becoming a Repeat Offender?
No one wants to be a repeat offender when it comes to reckless driving. To avoid becoming one, the best advice is to adhere to the speed limit at all times and make sure you are always following traffic laws.
Avoid weaving in and out of lanes or driving too close to other vehicles, and use your turn signals to indicate when you’re changing lanes. Always pay attention to the road and don’t drive if you’re feeling tired or intoxicated.
Expunging Reckless Driving Conviction
It is possible to have an aggravated reckless driving conviction expunged in some cases. However, the process is complex and requires a thorough explanation of the circumstances of the case. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process and explain all of your options.
The steps to have a reckless driving conviction expunged are:
1. File a Petition With the Court
This usually involves submitting a written statement that explains why you believe the conviction should be expunged. It is utilized in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that supports the expungement.
2. Wait for a Hearing Date
You will then attend a court hearing where your case will be reviewed and discussed in front of a judge. It’s important to have an attorney present at this point, as they can help make sure all legal processes are properly followed.
4. Present Evidence That Justifies Expungement
At the hearing, you will be required to present sufficient evidence that justifies expunging your record. This could include proof of a change in lifestyle since the offense, such as improved grades in school or a successful career path.
The court will take all these factors into consideration when making its decision about whether or not to expunge your record.
4. Receive a final decision
After the hearing, the judge will make a decision on whether or not to expunge your conviction. If they approve it, you will no longer have to disclose the conviction when filling out job applications and other forms requiring criminal background checks. Otherwise, you will have to continue disclosing the conviction.
You should note that it is possible to appeal the decision of a judge if they deny your request for an expungement. What will need to do is file a Motion for Reconsideration with the court and explain why you believe the judge’s decision was wrong.
However, the process can be complex and difficult, so it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney who can assist you with the process and explain your options.
Why You Need Defense Lawyer
More often, you could make the common mistake of believing that you may not need a criminal defense attorney for a reckless driving charge. This isn’t the case as these charges can have serious and long-lasting impacts on your life.
An experienced attorney will know how to navigate the legal system and advise you on the best course of action. In providing you with legal representation, they will also understand the process of having a conviction expunged and what competent evidence is needed to make a strong argument in front of the judge.
Although most of us are aware that reckless driving is wrong, it can be easy to forget the serious implications of such behavior. For those who have been charged with aggravated reckless driving in Illinois, it is important to remember that these charges carry serious penalties. With that in mind, it’s best to always drive responsibly and follow all traffic laws at all times—to avoid any negative consequences and keep yourself, your passengers, and other motorists safe.
However, if you do find yourself facing an aggravated reckless driving charge, make sure to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. They can provide you with expert advice and guidance as well as help you pursue a successful outcome in court. At Ktenas Law, our law firm is dedicated to helping our clients understand the legal process and achieve the best outcome for their cases. Contact us today for a consultation.