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Reckless And Negligent Driving Maryland Defense Lawyers

Group Photo of Attorneys The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC

 

Maryland cracks down hard on poor driving – sometimes too hard, especially when it comes to negligent driving accusations. JC Law defends the rights of the accused to a fair trial, so the outcome reflects what really happened.

What Is Reckless Driving Under Maryland State Law?

Every state has its own traffic laws and regulations. In Maryland, someone can be charged with reckless driving when they “drive a motorized vehicle with a wanton disregard for public safety or the safety of people and property.”

In order for a charge of reckless driving to stick, the prosecutor must prove:

  • The vehicle in question is a valid “motorized” vehicle;
  • The vehicle was driven in a way that showed “wanton disregard” for others – and that it was driven by you;  and
  • That people or property were somehow at risk for being damaged or otherwise unsafe by the way in which the vehicle was operated.

How Is A Reckless Driving Charge Different From A Negligent Driving Charge In Maryland?

The difference comes down to semantics and specific wording of the law but could have large repercussions in how the case is prosecuted and sentenced.

Again, reckless driving is when someone drives a vehicle and has a “wanton disregard for public safety.”

Negligent driving, on the other hand, is charged when a driver operates a vehicle in an “unwise or careless manner” and could harm people’s lives or damage property.

What Are The Penalties For Reckless Driving And Negligent Driving In Maryland?

Convictions of either reckless or negligent driving in Maryland courts are nothing to sneeze at. Of the two, negligent driving sentences are more lenient than those for reckless driving.

If convicted of negligent driving, then the penalty is usually $140 and a point on your Maryland driver’s record. (It takes eight points over two years for your license to be suspended.)

If convicted of reckless driving, however, then the penalty increases dramatically in scope and severity.

  • Reckless driving is considered a misdemeanor offense, which is placed on your permanent criminal record.
  • A judge may impose a fine ranging from $510 to $1,000 – not to mention any court fees accumulated.
  • Instead of just one point, reckless driving convictions automatically put six points on your Maryland license record for the next two years.

If someone was hurt or property was damaged during the alleged incident, then you should expect larger fines, outright license suspension and even jail time as part of your reckless driving sentence.

How Can A Traffic Lawyer Help With A Reckless Driving Charge?

Traffic lawyers understand the legal codes and traffic courts in a way that most people don’t need to. They can get the best, fairest sentence for their clients that take into account possible personal circumstances, the legality of the investigation by law enforcement, and the specific phrasing of the law.

For example, the prosecution will typically start their case under the more serious charge of reckless driving.

However, the right traffic lawyer can demonstrate how their defendant actually qualifies for the less-serious negligent driving sentencing based on the law’s wording.

Basically, was the accused’s driving more “wantonly disregardful,” or simply “unwise or careless”?

If the former, then it qualifies as reckless driving. However, if the latter – then the judge can only sentence the defendant based on negligent driving guidelines.

It’s tiny details like these that can separate someone from losing everything, to paying a fair penalty commiserate with the actual event – or winning a second chance altogether.

“I had Mark Sobel for a traffic case. He did a great job explaining everything to me and did a great job in the court room.”

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Group Photo of Attorneys The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC