In general, the state of Maryland has loosely defined reckless driving as deliberately operating a motor vehicle without regard to safety. Charges related to reckless driving in Maryland typically include aggressive driving, negligent driving, eluding the police and fleeing. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can also fall under this code and can result in misdemeanor charges, fines and even jail sentences, should a conviction occur. To best protect your driving privileges and your freedom, it’s a good idea to engage a skilled Maryland reckless driving lawyer to act on your behalf. A good reckless driving lawyer from Maryland understands the nuances of local driving laws and will use the resources at his disposal to build a strong case and strive for a positive outcome.
Impaired or Reckless Driving in Maryland
Maryland transportation code covers impaired or reckless driving under Rules of the Road Title 21, Subtitle 9. Code § 21-901 states that subtitle 9 encompasses the entire state of Maryland, and applies to reckless driving both on and off of highways. In Maryland, transportation codes remain in a separate section and are not covered under the Maryland criminal code, but it’s still a good idea to seek representation from a reckless driving lawyer of Maryland if charged with a reckless driving offense.
Driving While Impaired
Like most states, Maryland imposes serious penalties for driving under the influence. Maryland transportation section § 21-902 states that a person may not lawfully:
- Attempt to drive, or drive while impaired by alcohol or alcohol per se
- Attempt to drive, or drive while impaired by alcohol with a minor in the car
- Attempt to drive, or drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two that results in driving impairment
- Attempt to drive, or drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two that results in driving impairment while transporting a minor
Section § 21-902(c)(2) of Maryland’s transportation code states that these laws also apply to people who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol even when they are legally allowed to consume such substances, as in the case of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Code § 21-902(d) further clarifies that it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of controlled dangerous substances, and section § 21-902.1 states it is illegal to operate a vehicle during a 12 hour period of time after being arrested for impaired driving. Anyone who is charged with driving under the influence will benefit from hiring a Maryland reckless driving lawyer for representation.
Reckless driving in Maryland falls under section § 21-901.1 of the state’s transportation code. It is specifically defined as driving a motorized vehicle with a wanton disregard for public safety or the safety of people and property. Note that the code also states reckless driving charges may occur if a driver operates a motor vehicle in any manner that indicates wanton or willful disregard for safety. Under section § 21-901.1(b) the state of Maryland defines negligent driving as operating a motorized vehicle in an unwise or careless manner that imperils the lives of individuals or the safety of properties.
While the differences between negligent driving and reckless driving are often subjective, an experienced reckless driving attorney of MD can ensure any charges filed against you reflect the actual nature of your alleged crime, resulting in only the minimal penalties necessary. A good MD reckless driving attorney will take care to investigate even the most minute elements of your case in order to build the best defense on your behalf and help prevent a criminal record.
According to Maryland transportation code § 21-901.2, a person could be charged with aggressive driving by committing three or more specific violations simultaneously or at any time throughout a continuous period of operating a motor vehicle. The violations related to aggressive driving include:
- Passing a vehicle on the right
- Exceeding the maximum speed limit
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failing to yield right-of-way
- Driving on laned roads
- Violating traffic lights and signs
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle unsafely
Unfortunately, it isn’t difficult for a careless person to accumulate three traffic violations during a period of driving. While it’s best to practice safe driving and avoid such charges, a well-trained reckless driving lawyer in Maryland can protect your rights and your driver’s license in the event you do receive aggressive driving charges.
Eluding the Police or Fleeing
According to Maryland transportation code § 21-904, it is unlawful to flee from the police following an audible or visual signal to halt. Such signals include emergency sirens, emergency lights, voice signals and hand signals. After a uniformed police officer displays a badge and gives a signal to halt, it is illegal to keep driving, flee on foot or attempt to flee by other means. Further, if fleeing from or eluding a police officer causes the death or bodily harm of another person, the violation will be handled as a separate crime as stated in state transportation codes § 21-904(d) (1) and (2). Should this occur, an expert reckless driving lawyer from Maryland is crucial.
High Risk Driving by a Minor
Under state transportation code section § 21-905, any individual 18 years old or younger with a provisional driving license may be charged with high-risk driving by exhibiting negligent or reckless operation of a motor vehicle. These charges also apply to minors who engage in high-speed racing or driving contests. Minors charged with this violation could lose their driver’s license for six months for the first offense and one year for additional offenses. To improve the chances of a good outcome, seek representation by a skilled Maryland reckless driving lawyer.
Penalties for Reckless Driving Charges
Title 27 of the Maryland transportation code details the possible penalties associated with all driving violations committed in Maryland. Depending upon the severity of the violation and the location in which the alleged crime took place, specific penalties may vary from courtroom to courtroom.
Except in the most severe cases, violating reckless driving laws in the state of Maryland is a misdemeanor under code § 27-101(a) and could result in a fine of up to $500. Under circumstances such as loss of life, serious injury or property damage due to reckless or negligent driving, the law may impose jail time and license suspension. Repeat violators of the driving while impaired laws are subject to increased fines, jail time and license revocation.
To avoid harsh penalties and reputation damage, it’s important to obtain the best representation possible in the case of reckless driving charges. A MD reckless driving attorney who understands Maryland law and has experience handling transportation violations can make all the difference in the outcome of driving related charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with a transportation violation, your best course of action is engaging a Maryland reckless driving attorney as soon as possible.