Maine Reckless Driving

Reckless driving in Maine carries the penalties of a $575 fine, up to six months of jail time, and at least two points added to your driving record.
Written by Melanie Johnson
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
A reckless driving charge in Maine, officially called a “driving to endanger” charge, carries mandatory penalties of at least $575 in fines, at least two points added to your driving record, a 30-day to 180-day license suspension, and/or up to six months in jail. If your reckless driving results in injuries, your penalties will be harsher. 
Maine drivers have a responsibility to avoid distractions, remain vigilant, and practice safe driving behaviors on the road. If you violate these rules, you could face a charge for driving to endanger, which is a crime in Maine.
This type of Class E violation, which covers a broad range of unsafe acts, carries serious penalties, and the charges will stay on your record indefinitely. 
Defensive driving is important—so is knowing your state’s motor laws. In this article, the
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How does Maine define reckless driving?

Maine uses the term “driving to endanger” instead of “reckless driving.” According to Maine state law, “driving to endanger” is defined as driving a motor vehicle “in any place in a manner that endangers the property of another or a person, including the operator or passenger in the motor vehicle being driven.”
What does this mean? Basically, any driving behavior that is extreme, unsafe, and negligent can lead to a driving to endanger charge. It is largely open to the law enforcement officer’s interpretation. 
Keep in mind that a driver doesn’t need to endanger someone outside the vehicle to be convicted: putting yourself or your own passenger(s) in harm’s way is sufficient. No accident or property damage has to have occurred either; reckless driving implies that something easily could have happened
Some examples of reckless driving include:
  • Driving under the influence
  • Excessive speeding—open to the police officer’s discretion
  • Using a cell phone or texting while driving
  • Swerving in between lanes
  • Disobeying street signs
If your reckless driving causes an accident and someone is badly hurt, you can face additional charges for an aggravated offense. Aggravated driving to endanger is more serious and is treated as a Class C crime.

What are the penalties for reckless driving in Maine? 

Driving to endanger is a Class E crime in Maine. While it's in the lowest category of crimes, it still carries mandatory minimums. 
The penalties for driving to endanger may include:
  • Two to four points added to your Maine driving record
  • $575 to $1,000 in fines
  • Up to six months in jail
  • License suspension of 30 to 180 days 
Keep in mind that accumulating 12 or more points to your driving record within a year can also lead to license suspension.

Aggravated driving to endanger 

An offender who causes “serious bodily injury” to another person can be convicted of aggravated driving to endanger, which is a Class C crime. In this type of conviction, the offender may also face:
  • Up to five years in jail 
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • License suspension of 180 days to two years
Key Takeaway Driving to endanger in Maine is a serious offense that will result in hefty fines, a suspended license, and possibly even jail time. If injuries are involved, your charges will be even more severe.
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How can I remove a reckless driving charge from my record? 

In Maine, points on your license expire after one year, but driving to endanger stays on your record indefinitely. 
Because a driving to endanger charge covers a wide range of unsafe driver behaviors and is largely left to the discretion of the law enforcement officer, there is no single strategy to getting charges dropped or reduced. Your best bet may be to hire a lawyer or represent yourself in court.
To remove points from your license (but not the charge), you can enroll in a
Maine Driving Dynamics course
. Should you successfully complete the course, the state will credit your record with three points. 

Will reckless driving make my insurance go up? 

Yes—a driving to endanger charge is one of the traffic violations with the greatest impact on your insurance premium.Car insurance companies increase rates by an average of $487 per year after a driving to endanger charge—that’s 53% higher than the typical car insurance rate in Maine.
Because the consequences of a driving to endanger charge are so serious, it’s best to avoid the charge in the first place by maintaining safe driving habits. Take a defensive driving course, check your points at the DMV, and fight any minor traffic violations to keep your record clean and avoid a hike in insurance rates. 

How to find affordable car insurance in Maine

It’s likely your insurance company won’t raise your rate following a driving to endanger charge until it’s time to renew your policy. You may be able to carry on at your original rate for a few months – but when renewal rolls around, it’s time to shop for a new low rate. 
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Yes. Driving to endanger is a Class E crime in Maine that carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months. If you are convicted of aggravated driving to assault, a more serious offense, you could face jail time of up to five years.
The minimum penalty for driving to endanger in Maine is a $575 fine and/or a 30-day license suspension. Two to four points will be added to your Maine driving record.
A driving to endanger charge means that the driver endangered other people or property through negligent and/or unsafe driving behavior. An aggravated driving to endanger charge typically involves serious injuries to a driver, passenger, or pedestrian involved in the incident.
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