Reckless Driving Maryland
Reckless Driving Maryland
Getting pulled over for speeding is something that happens to almost everyone at some point. Occasionally the police are nice enough to let you off with a warning, even though they have heard almost every excuse in the book. But when does a simple traffic stop for speeding turn into a reckless driving charge? Reckless driving is more serious than your average speeding ticket, and police officers have substantial discretion over whether to issue a reckless driving citation.
If you receive a ticket for reckless driving or any other driving infraction, you have the right to be defended by an attorney! After you receive your ticket, you have 30 days to request a trial or pay the citation(s) before the MVA can suspend your license for failing to comply with the citation by either paying it or requesting a trial. At this hearing, you or your experienced reckless driving attorney and the citing police officer will argue before a judge. Usually it is better to request a trial than to pay the citation, because your attorney can argue for reduced points or try to fight the citation using the law and their experience.
Determining whether your conduct rose to the level of negligence or recklessness is entirely up to the police officer with respect to the decision to issue you a citation. Once in court, it is the judge who decides whether you are actually guilty of the offense or not. In many cases, the only evidence may be the opinion of the police against your words. To make sure you are not on the hook for an expensive penalty because an officer didn’t like the way you were driving, you need an experienced reckless driving lawyer who knows best how to fight for you in Maryland courts.
Is reckless driving a felony?
There is good news; in Maryland, reckless driving is not a felony. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor that is codified in Maryland’s transportation code, not its criminal laws code. In fact, you cannot be imprisoned for reckless driving alone in Maryland. However, your license could be suspended, and your insurance rates could increase.
Reckless driving tickets often accompany more serious traffic offenses, some that could result in steep fines or prison time. Having the right attorney can be the difference between your license being suspended or not.
What is the penalty for reckless driving and negligent driving?
In Maryland, a judge can fine you up to the maximum of $1,000 for reckless driving, no matter how poorly you were driving. However, this is just the punishment a judge can hand you – it does not cover the possible penalties from the Maryland MVA. A reckless driving conviction carries up to six points on your license, which could result in your license being suspended and your insurance rates getting a steep hike upwards.
For negligent driving, a judge can fine you up to $500. Additionally, a negligent driving conviction can result in one point on your license, and up to three points if the negligent driving contributed to an accident.
I got an “aggressive driving” ticket. Is this the same thing as a reckless driving ticket?
Maryland law distinguishes aggressive driving from reckless and negligent driving. Under Maryland Code § 21-901.2, the law defines aggressive driving as “committing three or more of the following offenses at the same time or during a single and continuous period of driving.”
- Violating traffic signals or signs
- Unsafely overtaking or passing other vehicles
- Passing on the right
- Driving outside the marked lines
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failing to yield
Will a reckless driving ticket affect my commercial driver’s license (CDL)?
Will a reckless driving ticket affect my provisional driver’s license?
What is High Risk Driving by a Minor?
What does getting points on my license mean?
Assessing points on your license is the Maryland MVA’s way of keeping track of each driver’s infractions. Any motor vehicle infraction, from speeding to DUIs, will result in a certain amount of points being assessed on your driving record. At 5 to 7 points, the MVA will require you to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program; at 8 to 11 points, the MVA will suspend your license; at 12 or more points, the MVA will revoke your license. Points stay on your license for two years from the date of the traffic infraction, regardless of when the citation is resolved by trial or direct payment.
Additionally, points on your license can result in increased rates from your insurance company. If you are facing suspension or revocation of your license, you have the right to appeal the decision. Working with an experienced reckless driving lawyer will greatly improve your chances at maintaining your driving privileges. For more information about the MVA point system, visit their website.
This is just an outline of reckless driving and other compatible laws in Maryland. Each situation is different and may require a further look at the rules and regulations of the roads. The privilege to drive is taken for granted my many and your world could be turned upside down should you lose this privilege. Reckless driving tickets are notorious for being left to the discretion of the police and judge. Make sure you protect yourself and your driving rights! Hiring the right lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Maryland traffic laws will make a world of difference. If you have received a reckless driving ticket or any other traffic infraction, make sure to contact Morgan Leigh at Scrofano Law. Attorney Leigh has handled hundreds of reckless driving cases and will be able to create the best defense strategy to protect you.