In Massachusetts, speeding alone will not result in a criminal charge or reckless driving arrest. However, this is not the case in many other states. In Virginia, for example, driving 20 MPH or more in excess of the posted speed limit automatically constitutes the offense of reckless driving. Likewise, operating at any speed in excess of 80 MPH will also constitute reckless operation. See Virginia Code § 46.2-862. This is not the case here in Massachusetts, where speeding is simply treated as a Civil Motor Vehicle Infraction.
Exceeding the speed limit in Denver, Colorado can result in a finding of careless driving in violation of Denver, Colorado City Ordinance 54-158.
Drivers who exhibit certain driving behaviors in New Jersey can be charged with either careless driving or reckless driving, depending on the type and severity of the actions. Under NJSA 39:4-97, “A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving.”
New Jersey’s careless driving law is exceptionally open-ended and leaves a police officer with a tremendous amount of discretion. Any time someone drives erratically on the road and the conduct does not quite fit with another traffic violation, an officer can issue a ticket for careless driving.
Unsuspecting Massachusetts residents and license holders have been cited in New Jersey for careless driving simply because they exceeded the speed limit. Under New Jersey law, careless operation is a civil traffic infraction. It results in a 2-point surcharge assessment and it is equivalent to a minor traffic violation under the Massachusetts SDIP. It carries no license suspension in New Jersey.
In New Hampshire, driving at 100 MPH or greater constitutes reckless driving in violation of NH Rev Stat § 265:79 (2015).
Although speed alone does not constitute reckless driving here in Massachusetts, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will treat all of these out of state careless or reckless driving convictions as M84 RECKLESS DRIVING and suspend your driver’s license for at least 60 days. If this happens to you, the Registry will give you no relief. Going before a Registry Hearing Officer is, unfortunately, a waste of time.
My office has been very successful in appealing these suspensions and achieving reversals and annulments which have allowed my clients to fully reinstate their driver’s licenses. In many cases, the Registry is ordered to completely vacate the suspension, so that it is removed from the customer’s driving record and he or she is allowed to promptly reinstate without having to pay the $500.00 reckless driving reinstatement fee.