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Reckless Driving Is More Serious Than Typical Traffic ViolationsWhen people think of traffic violations, they usually think of petty fines or points against their license. The reality of the situation is that not all violations are created equal. In the state of Illinois, a reckless driving charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. According to Illinois state law, reckless driving is defined as the act of operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner that demonstrates a lack of consideration for the safety of others. If you have been charged with reckless driving, you need to speak with an experienced defense lawyer. 

The Ramifications of Reckless Driving 

A police officer has the legal authority to arrest a driver and take them into custody if there is probable cause that the driver has committed reckless driving. After the arrest, the driver will then have to post bail or go to jail. The driver will have to appear in court and could be sentenced to up to 364 days in prison and be forced to pay fines as high as $2,500. Outside of the fines, the driver may have to pay for the towing service after the arrest, various court costs, and significant rises in insurance rates. A misdemeanor offense can have serious implications on a person’s ability to secure employment, loans, or housing opportunities. It should be noted that much like a DUI charge, a reckless driving charge cannot be expunged or removed from a person’s criminal record. 

In many cases, a judge will choose to put the offender on probation rather than sentencing them to jail. In these instances, the offender will likely be forced to take part in traffic safety courses and possibly community service. While a misdemeanor offense should be taken incredibly seriously, it is also important to understand that some reckless driving charges can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. Most notably, if the defendant’s reckless driving resulted in great bodily harm to another party, they will face felony charges.  

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Examining the Consequences of Traffic Violations in IllinoisEvery single day, hundreds of Illinoisans are cited for violating the state’s traffic laws in one fashion or another. While the vast majority of traffic violations are considered petty offenses, there are a number of violations that can lead to serious legal ramifications for the driver. Below, we will discuss some of the consequences of violating Illinois’ traffic laws and the need for you to hire a knowledgeable attorney if you are facing charges related to a traffic violation

Misdemeanor Offenses 

In the state of Illinois, the overwhelming majority of traffic violations fall under two categories: petty violations and misdemeanors. A misdemeanor charge can vary in severity from Class A to Class C, with a Class A misdemeanor coming with the most serious potential legal consequences. Class C misdemeanors tend to be fairly harmless crimes that are considered more reckless than a petty offense. Class C misdemeanors can include violations such as stealing or destroying a traffic sign and are only punishable by up to 30 days in prison. It should be noted that a person can still be fined up to $1,000 for a Class C misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors come with more serious consequences. They include violations such as speeding anywhere from 26 to 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. If convicted, a Class B misdemeanor can result in a six-month prison sentence. 

The most serious misdemeanor offenses are classified as Class A misdemeanors. The most common traffic violation leading to a Class A misdemeanor is a first-time DUI offense. Other common Class A misdemeanors include reckless driving charges, driving with a suspended license, or traveling at speeds over 35 miles per hour over the legal speed limit. A Class A misdemeanor can lead to up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It is worth noting that a Class A misdemeanor can also impact a person’s ability to land future employment, loans, and housing opportunities. 

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DuPage County traffic violation attorney suspended license

In the state of Illinois, a variety of traffic violations can result in a license suspension or revocation. While the severity of the suspension or revocation will depend on the type of offense, losing driving privileges is not as uncommon as many would assume. Most people have an understanding of the fact that major traffic violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol or reckless driving can result in a license suspension, yet few understand that minor offenses can lead to a suspension. If a driver receives three minor traffic citations for a moving violation in a span of a year, he or she could face a suspension. All that being said, it is essential to understand the legal ramifications of driving with a suspended or revoked license

Understanding the Legal Consequences 

Operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license is not a minor traffic violation – it is a criminal offense. A first-time offender is likely to face a Class A misdemeanor charge, which could lead to up to one year in prison and fines as high as $2,500. It should be noted that if a driver has lost their driving privileges due to a serious violation (such as a DUI), the charge may be elevated to a felony charge. If a driver is apprehended while driving on a suspended or revoked license for a second time, they will face Class 4 felony charges, which can result in up to one year of jail time and fines up to $25,000. 

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How an Aggravated Speeding Charge Can Impact YouDriving at speeds over the legal speed limit is a dangerous mistake. Not only does speeding increase the likelihood of a dangerous motor vehicle collision, but it is also viewed as a serious traffic violation. While minor speeding violations will simply result in points against your license, driving at speeds 26 mph or more over the speed limit can result in an aggravated speeding charge. If you have been charged with aggravated speeding, it is critically important to speak with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.  

The Legal Ramifications of Aggravated Speeding

In the state of Illinois, an aggravated speeding conviction constitutes a Class B misdemeanor. If the driver is apprehended while traveling at speeds that exceed 35 mph over the speed limit, the charge will be elevated to reckless driving, which is a Class A misdemeanor. Regardless of the class of misdemeanor, the potential criminal punishment for a conviction can be significant. A person charged with aggravated speeding can face up to six months in prison, fines as high as $1,500 and additional court charges. If the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor, the driver could face up to one year in prison. 

If the driver is ultimately charged, the violation will strike 50 points against their license. Three moving traffic violation convictions in 12 months will result in a driver’s license suspension, and the points determine how long the suspension will last. Drivers who are younger than 21 can have only two moving violations in 12 months. Additionally, the driver may be forced to take part in community service activities and possibly traffic school. 

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IL defense lawyerWhen someone is charged with driving under the influence, they are often cited for one or more petty traffic offenses as well. Why is that?

That happens in part because, as the latest driver safety campaign says, “If you feel different, you drive different.” You make poor decisions, like driving too fast.

But it also happens because the police need a valid legal reason for initiating a traffic stop. Typically, the reason stated for a traffic stop is that the driver committed a relatively minor infraction of the law such as speeding, running a stop sign, failing to wear a seatbelt, or even having a burnt-out tail light. After observing the stopped driver and vehicle up close, the officer may then determine that a DUI charge is merited. But by writing up the ticket for the original infraction as well, the officer documents “for the record” the reason for the traffic stop.

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IL defense lawyerImagine that you have been pulled over by a police officer for some relatively minor traffic violation. The officer approaches you in a friendly manner as if he is just making conversation. He asks about where you have been, where you are going, whether you have had any drinks today, and so on. He gets you to admit that you were at a bar and that, yes, you had a drink or two.

Did You Just Say Too Much?

Many people believe — incorrectly — that they are required to answer each and every question that a police officer asks. Their natural instinct is to be cooperative. They may even hope that the officer will let them off with just a warning because they were so polite.

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