Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor crime in Maryland and is often charged for speeding. If you are convicted, you face severe penalties and long-term consequences in your life, such as a permanent criminal record, points on your driving record, and increased insurance costs. However, unlike other states, there is no law in Maryland that states when speeding is considered reckless driving and not a traffic infraction.
What Is Reckless Driving in Maryland?
Maryland’s reckless driving law has very general provisions as to what constitutes reckless driving. Under Maryland Code § 21-901.1, it is reckless driving to do one of the following:
- Drive a motor vehicle in wanton or willful disregard of the safety of an individual or property
- Drive a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates a wanton or willful disregard of the safety of a person or property
This statute also makes it illegal to engage in negligent driving, which is a slightly less serious misdemeanor offense. A person can be found guilty of negligent driving if he drives a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers property or an individual’s life.
The reckless driving law is very broad and subjective in Maryland. This means that an officer can charge an individual with reckless driving rather than issuing a speeding ticket if he is only traveling five or ten miles over the speed limit. This is especially true if the person is also engaging in other unsafe actions, like running a red light or failing to yield the right of way.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Maryland
Your punishment would not include a jail sentence if you are convicted of reckless driving in Maryland. However, you could face these penalties:
- Scheduled fine of $510 if you plead guilty
- Fine of between $510 and $1,000 if you take your case to court
- Six demerit points on your driving record
If you are charged with negligent driving, the penalties are less severe:
- Scheduled fine of $140 for pleading guilty
- Fine of between $140 to $500 if your case is taken to court
- Three demerit points on your driving record
Even though you do not face a jail sentence, you should not take a reckless driving charge lightly. Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face—even if you are guilty. This can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn more about how we can help, call our office to schedule a free consultation today.