St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office to Begin Issuing Citations to Off-Road Vehicles

April 14, 2017

The change of weather has caused an increase of illegally operated off-road vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and similar vehicles being operated throughout St. Mary’s County on roadways, private property, and in residential areas. These vehicles pose a considerable safety threat to riders and residents, whether on the public or private property.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has investigated over 545 complaints since 2015 and responded to nearly 300 traffic calls for service involving off-road vehicles. The Sheriff’s Office will begin issuing citations to offenders and increase parent responsibility for juvenile riders. The Sheriff’s Office wants to ensure citizens are familiar with the laws regarding requirements for off-road vehicles being operated on roadways and private property not owned by the rider.

The Sheriff’s Office is working in concert with the State’s Attorney Richard Fritz on this initiative.

The difference between motor vehicles and off-highway recreational vehicles, as defined by Maryland Vehicle Law:

Maryland vehicle law defines motor vehicles as vehicles that are self-propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead electrical wires and are not operated on rails. Under this definition, off-highway recreational vehicles (three wheeler, pocket bike, golf cart, four-wheeler, utility vehicle/side by side)  are not considered motor vehicles.

For purposes of Maryland Vehicle Law only, off-highway recreational vehicles means a motor vehicle that is

  1. motor-assisted or motor-driven

(i)               is designed to carry only the operator of the vehicle on a seat or saddle designed to be to be straddled by the operator or is designed to carry only the operator of the vehicle and one passenger;

(ii)              Is commonly known as an all-terrain vehicle, three wheeler, pocket bike, golf cart, four-wheeler, utility vehicle, also knows as a side by side.

  1. A motorcycle that is designed for off-highway operation and is not eligible for registration as a Class D (motorcycle) vehicle under this article, commonly knows as a dirtbike;
  2. Snowmobile

The following is information regarding where off-road vehicles can and can not be driven:

  • Any vehicle that is not registered in the state of Maryland may not be driven on Maryland highways. Maryland vehicle law defines highways as the entire width between the boundary line of any way or thoroughfare of which any part is used by the public for vehicular travel, whether or not the way or thoroughfare has been dedicated to the public and accepted by any proper authority. This means off-road vehicles are for use on PRIVATE PROPERTY only, with the permission of the owner/agent. According to Maryland Vehicle Law, they cannot be operated on public sidewalks, public roads, streets or highways.

In addition to any other traffic violations observed, the following are a list of Maryland Transportation Article Charges that one could face if observed operating an off-road vehicle contrarily to the law.

  • 13 402 by – Driving unregistered motor vehicle – $290/0 points
  • 16 101 a –  (Driving, Attempting to Drive) motor vehicle on highway without required license and authorization – *Must Appear/5 Points
  • 16 101 b – Operating a (moped, motor scooter) on the highway without required license or permit – *Must Appear/5 Points. Although, “motor assisted” and “motor driven,” a moped and motor scooter can be operated on the highway if the operator has a valid license or a moped permit obtained through the MVA.
  • Knowingly permitting (child, ward) under 15 to drive motor vehicle on Highway – $290/5 points
  • 17 107 – Driving Uninsured Vehicle – *Must Appear/5 points
  • An individual operating an off-road vehicle will run the risk of having their ATV towed and stored by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.

*A person issued a MUST APPEAR CITATION will receive a court date in the mail and must see the judge; there is no pre-set fine.

Anyone with additional questions is asked to contact our Traffic Safety Unit at 301-863-4816, ext *1456 or by email,


66 Responses to St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office to Begin Issuing Citations to Off-Road Vehicles

  1. Proud Harley Rider on April 14, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Similar citations should be issued for anyone who has a “sport bike”. They give real motorcyclists a bad name.

    • Homie Da Clown on April 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      That’s about a dumb statement!!

      • Tell You What on April 18, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Speaking of dumb, where did you learn how to use proper grammar?

  2. Bikelife on April 14, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Blah blah blah whatever they gotta catch me first which i know they wont

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Heard that bro

    • YourMomZaenus on April 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Can’t outrun a wire strung taut across the road.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Moving speed bump. Never even saw him officer. I thought it was a deer

  3. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    They should automatically be impounded and most of these riders don’t even have a drivers licenses.

  4. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    If you hit one on the road… who is at fault? Will I have to make a claim on my insurance for an uninsured motorist.

  5. Roger on April 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I’m noticing a trend with the offenders pictured above.

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:04 am

      …That they don’t wear helmets.

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Drug distributors?

    • Anon on April 17, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Yep! No one is wearing any safety gear.

      • Anonymous on April 20, 2017 at 9:28 am

        Nature has a way of weeding out the stupid.

    • Elizabeth on April 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      They have a year round tan?

  6. Tom Foolery on April 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Look at these idiots pictured above. These are grown men acting like fools. Get a real car and real license and you don’t have to drive these around on the streets anymore!!

  7. Resident on April 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    It’s about time. Go to Southampton where it’s a constant problem.

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

      PG County has it worse… they’ll run motorist off the road and block ambulances.

  8. Nick on April 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    If they are like the ones in Charles County, (and I suspect they are), they just run off in several directions when they see law enforcement. If their little toys get confiscated, they just go out and steal another!

    (Oops, I meant buy another)

    • Bumbaclot on April 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

      with the money earned from their jobs…..oh wait, our taxes I mean.

  9. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    What about citations for:
    – Not wearing a DOT approved helmet
    – Proper eye protection

  10. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    “St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office to Begin Issuing Citations to Off-Road Vehicles”

    So before now they were just giving warnings? SMH

  11. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    FINALLY! I’ve noticed the problem since 2013. What the hell took so long? There’s plenty of dirt roads and trails around the county for that kind of activity. Another problem that I’ve noticed is disabled or senior citizens using power/motorized chairs like they’re cars. Driving them from one side of town to the next and sometimes on the open roadway.

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Those dirt roads you see are owned by someone. Without the owners permission to use them, it is trespassing​. There is no public land open for off-road use in southern MD.

  12. William Dewdney on April 14, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Need I Say Anymore

  13. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    This is a daily occurrence on and around the area of Mechanicsville Road

  14. AliceW on April 15, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Thank you! Also need to get the ones below sixteen on bicycles without helmets.

  15. R.WEEKLEY on April 15, 2017 at 5:44 am


  16. Ms. Justice bb on April 15, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Wow! I am glad their cracking down on these individuals that destroys other people’s property. I am also glad that parents will be responsible for their children’s behavior.I equally hope this new law will also apply to three wheels as well.

    • The real Bob Lob Law on April 17, 2017 at 7:39 am

      ** they are

      • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 10:36 am


  17. Joe on April 15, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Most of the St. Mary’s County Cruisers I see have those crash bars on the front. That would minimize damage to county property when the deputy RUNS THEIR ASSES OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Getting lo look like DC down here…………

  18. Anonymous on April 15, 2017 at 9:53 am

    When and where will the unclaimed bikes be auctioned? I’m interested in buying a few.

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

      I would imagine that most of them are stolen. Hopefully they are returned back to their original owners.

    • Dindunuffins on April 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

      they’re all stolen, so they will likely be returned to the owners

  19. Anonymous on April 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

    So where is the part stating that if the dirt bike or 4 wheeler are found to be stolen the rider/driver/operator will be charged accordingly.

    • MarineVet on April 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm


  20. TellItLikeItIs on April 15, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Sure! Let’s go after the off-road vehicles. They are the big threat. Don’t worry about the multiple vehicle accidents on 235 every week. Thats just too dangerous! Not to mention the biker boyz doing 110 down the road and weaving between cars after doing wheelies.

    SMCSO needs to re-evaluate their priorities!

    • The real Bob Lob Law on April 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Awesome. Now run for sheriff and show them how it’s done. Idiot.

    • Bob Lob Law on April 17, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Because they can be everywhere at once, right?

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Just send the SMCSO a list of what laws they should enforce and what order you want them enforced. I am sure they will take your list seriously just before they wipe their @$$ with it. They are paid to enforce all laws. If you have a genuine concern then notify them, if they get enough calls for the same problem they will step up patrols in that area.

      • TellITLikeItIs on April 18, 2017 at 11:00 am

        Yeah…. not really! The sheriff had already said that patrols on 235 during certain times are just “too dangerous” for his officers. I guess they feel safer chasing kids and hood rats on dirt bikes and 4-wheelers! It’s not like there is a wreck on 235 EVERY…SINGLE…DAY!

        So lets get rid of this epidemic that is off-road vehicles and leave the traffic wrecks to figure themselves out shall we?

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 10:14 am

      This is just a step in trying to control the drug trafficking issues.

  21. Not a careless parent on April 16, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Face it, these kids who are driving four wheelers,
    dirt bikes and golf carts on public streets are not competent
    in any way to do so.
    I live on a street where children are driving smaller children
    back and forth from the bus stop hangin off the back of a golf cart
    and are oblivious to cars behind them or approaching them head on.
    This is going to end badly so don’t go blaming anyone but the parents.
    Any parent who lets their kids drive a golf cart on a public street
    should be locked up.(authorities have been notified).

    • Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Gene pool thinning. It takes care of itself.

  22. Ali on April 16, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Just ram them into a tree or ditch. Preferably a tree.

    • Elizabeth on April 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Hopefully someone does the same to you.

  23. Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Sooooo…. I guess young afro -American Brothers are the only ones doing this in SOMD? Judging by these pictures you would assume so. Very racist.

    • WOW on April 19, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Just a matter of time before someone whined. Get over it. If these are the ones causing trouble that they’ve snapped pictures of then that’s how it goes. Don’t be so weak-minded and pull the race card – think for yourself.

    • Chibbs on April 19, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Getting? It’s been like it for quite awhile. LP City, little South East.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      these pics are of previous cases…
      The one into the Mail truck was a couple week ago; has a mile long criminal and traffic violations.
      The pic of the double dirt picks is from an Armed Robbery Case.
      The single dirt bike eluded the police when trying to serve a warrant.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      Nah. Those are just the ones who are stupid enough to post pictures breaking the law.

  24. Anonymous on April 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    How about donate some land so they can actually have a place to ride.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      You want land donated…and just who do you think should donate their land? I’m guessing you don’t have any to donate. But if you did, I’m sure you would, right?

    • Anonymous on April 20, 2017 at 11:02 am

      I have some land to donate – it’s about half a mile south of Point Lookout. Enjoy.

  25. MarineVet on April 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I am more concerned with returning these stolen bikes to their rightful owners…
    Maryland has a REAL big problem with motocross bikes being stolen and used in this manner..

    • Bob Lob Law on April 18, 2017 at 9:45 am

      You know they’re stolen how?

  26. Jack Wagon on April 17, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Can I make a citizens arrest with my trucks bumper?

    • Bro on April 19, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Just don’t damage the equipment.

    • Anonymous on April 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      If they ride towards you it’s an attack. Defend yourself with that very same bumper.

  27. MXracer on April 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Hopefully they’ll look to see if these bikes are stolen & return to their rightful owner. I see one bike with a number on the front, that usually is only put on a racer’s bike as their number. We were involved in racing for many years & I can’t tell you how many times we hear or know the racers who get their bikes stolen, right from under their own locked garage or trailer. They follow the riders home from racing. Had one group of suspicious van full of men come into the track during practice, taking pictures of bikes & license plates, they left prior to the police coming. Race bikes are not inexpensive, they are the heart & soul of the racer who owns them, its heartbreaking when their bikes get stolen. Every racer wears protective gear & takes pride in their bikes & most do not have the money nor insurance to cover them being stolen. Motocross is a great sport & family time. Lets not mix up these riders with the true motocross or trail rider. Good Job Charles County, better job if you go further & try to see if these bikes are stolen & return them.

    • MXracer on April 19, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Sorry St Mary’s County not Charles but be great if all in MD take this stand !

    • Anonymous on April 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Insurance…Sometimes it’s worth the investment.

  28. joke on April 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    My question is, where do they find money for these off road vehicles? are they not the same ones who have families getting free lunches when they attend school? sick, lock them up, impound their vehicle and make a statement. MAKE A STATEMENT, with something because at this point the judicial system is a joke.

  29. Proudtobeanamerican on April 23, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I saw someone just yesterday driving a dirt bike with no helmet, no tags down 235 in the St. James area. If St. Mary’s really would like to catch these folks, they would hang around there. When is the last time you have seen police enforcing traffic in this area? Law Enforcement can write nice articles for the news. But, lets see if the can back it up. I am sure they can if they have the desire to. I am simply saying I haven’t seen it for quite some time.

  30. Anonymous on April 23, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Still not being enforced in Country Lakes.