Maine’s “Driving to Endanger” (Reckless Driving) Laws and Penalties

Read about the Maine’s driving to endanger laws and the consequences of a conviction.

Maine uses the term “driving to endanger” instead of “reckless driving.” A driving to endanger conviction requires proof that the motorist was:

  • driving in a way that endangered another person or property, and
  • criminally negligent” in doing so.

A driver doesn’t need to endanger someone outside of the vehicle to be convicted: endangerment of the driver or a passenger in the driver’s vehicle is sufficient.

(Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A, § 2413 (2017).)

Driving to Endanger Penalties

The consequences of a Maine driving to endanger conviction depend on the circumstances. But the possible penalties are:

  • Standard driving to endanger. Most driving to endanger violations are class E crimes. Convicted motorists are looking at up to six months in jail, a maximum $1,000 in fines, and a license suspension of 30 to 180 days.
  • Aggravated driving to endanger. An offender who causes “serious bodily injury” to another person can be convicted of aggravated driving to endanger, a class C crime. The offender faces up to five years behind bars, a maximum $5,000 in fines, and a license suspension of 180 days to two years.

A driving to endanger conviction will also add two points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating 12 or more points within a year leads to license suspension.

(Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 17-A, §§ 1252, 1301 (2017); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 29-A, § 2413 (2017); Code Me. R. tit. 29-250 Ch. 1, § 4 (2017).)

Driving to Endanger and OUI/DUI Charges (“Wet Reckless”)

In Maine, it’s possible for a person who’s accused of operating under the influence (OUI) to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When an OUI is plea bargained down to a reckless driving (or driving to endanger) charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

(Read more about plea bargaining in Maine OUI cases.)

 

HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?

Generally speaking, sentencing law is complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including the severity of the damage at issue, credits for good in-custody behavior, and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.

 

Talk to an Attorney

The facts of every case are different. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with driving to endanger, get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on how best to handle your situation.

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