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3 Maryland Traffic Offenses Involving Use Of & Damage To Motor Vehicles

CarVandalism

When most people think of traffic offenses under Maryland law, common infractions that tend to arise involve speeding or DUI. But in addition to these offenses, the Maryland Code of Transportation also prohibits certain conduct that involves using, damaging, or tampering with motor vehicles.

In this context, it is vital to note several exceptions under Maryland Code of Transportation Section 14-101. The motor vehicle crimes listed below do not apply to:

  • Vehicles propelled solely by animal or human power;
  • Self-propelled vehicles, such as wheelchairs or tricycles; or
  • Farm equipment or special mobile equipment, unless the vehicle has a certificate of title.

Returning to the topic at hand, the following sections will explore three Maryland traffic offenses that involve the use of or damage to motor vehicles.

  1. Use of Motor Vehicle Without Consent

The laws against use of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent appear at Maryland Code of Transportation Section 14-102. This section makes it unlawful to:

  • Drive another person’s motor vehicle without consent, while demonstrating an intent to deprive the owner of possession of the vehicle temporarily; or
  • Take another person’s motor vehicle without consent, while demonstrating an intent to deprive the owner of possession of the vehicle temporarily.

Section 14-102 makes it clear that the crimes above do not require an intent to steal the motor vehicle in question. Merely driving or taking the vehicle without the owner’s consent qualifies as a violation of this section.

Any person who violates Section 14-102 can face imprisonment for a maximum of two months and criminal fines up to $500, either or both.

  1. Use of Motor Vehicle Master Keys

The laws against use of motor vehicle master keys appear at Maryland Code of Transportation Section 14-103. Outside of narrow exceptions, this section makes it illegal for any person to possess or use a motor vehicle master key. These master keys are adapted for or capable of unlocking different types of motor vehicles.

There are two exceptions to Section 14-103. A person may use or possess a motor vehicle master key if they are:

  • Engaging in a legitimate business interest; or
  • Pursuing official duties as a law enforcement officer.

Any person who violates Section 14-103 can face imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months and criminal fines up to $500, either or both.

  1. Willful Damage to or Tampering with Motor Vehicle

The laws against willful damage to or tampering with a motor vehicle appear at Maryland Code of Transportation Section 14-104. This section makes it illegal to:

  • Damage or tamper with any motor vehicle without the owner’s consent;
  • Throw or drop stones or other objects at a motor vehicle or its occupants;
  • Climb into or on any motor vehicle, while intending to commit any mischief, damage, injury, or crime; or
  • Manipulate the levels, starting mechanism, brakes, or other aspect of an unattended motor vehicle, while intending to commit any mischief, damage, injury, or crime.

Any person who violates Section 14-104 can face imprisonment for a maximum of two months and criminal fines up to $500, either or both.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you need help with your case, the Bel Air traffic offense lawyers at our office can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Schlaich & Thompson Chartered for a consultation.

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