Massachusetts Reckless Driving Laws

In Massachusetts, reckless driving is addressed as criminal offense, which carries both the potential of traditional criminal penalties, such as fines and incarceration, as well as administrative penalties, such as license suspension and additional surcharges. Not only this, but license restrictions and criminal convictions, even for a traffic offense, can prohibit many types of employment.

Defining Reckless Driving in Massachusetts

The definition of reckless driving in Massachusetts, like most states, is relatively subjective, but contains the following elements of the crime, including operation of a motor vehicle on a public roadway in a reckless manner (which would likely cause serious bodily injury or death to another person). Explicitly noted in Massachusetts, however, is that negligent operation does not meet the definition of the crime of reckless driving. In Massachusetts, drivers will be arrested for the reckless driving offense, or in certain cases, drivers will receive a criminal summons to appear. In both cases, drivers still face criminal charges.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Massachusetts



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Not more than two and a half years of incarceration, with fines scheduled based on prior driving history and graduated fine schedule in MA

Two surchargeable points, increases to three or four if accident involved

SDIP insurance increases, possible license suspension on case-specific basis

Impact on Your Drivers License

Drivers convicted of a criminal traffic violation, such as reckless driving, face a discretionary license suspension in any case. However, other detriments towards one's license will likely occur. Massachusetts operates a Safe Driver Insurance Program, and in light of reckless driving convictions, drivers will face mandatory increases in driver's insurance for a period of at least three years. In addition, drivers face the addition of surchargeable points to their record. If a driver accumulates more than five surchargeable points within a one-year period, he must attend a driver-retraining program approved by the RMV or face suspension. In any case, accumulation of more than seven surchargeable points within three years causes an automatic 60-day suspension.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Massachusetts

The best options for addressing reckless driving charges in Massachusetts will revolve around addressing the immediate criminal charges faced by a driver. In any case, a favorable resolution to the criminal charges means a favorable resolution to administrative penalties faced as well. For drivers, the first step will involve consulting with legal counsel, who will actively seek outright dismissal of the reckless driving charge.

As noted above, the definition of these charges is highly subjective, and more often than not, best served by a lesser, non-criminal traffic violation. Typically, cases are resolved through plea deals that reduce the charges into a lesser criminal offense or a non-criminal traffic violation. For first offenders, even more options are available to prevent conviction of any offense and commence probation immediately, ultimately wiping the offense off their record entirely.

When to Get a Lawyer

As noted above, any form of favorable plea agreement or resolution to a reckless driving case in Massachusetts will entail the advice and representation of a Massachusetts reckless driving lawyer. For more information and insight into your specific pending criminal case, consult with a Massachusetts reckless driving lawyer today.

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