Black Maria Law and Legal Definition

Black Maria slang term. It is a locked police van used to transport prisoners to and from jail. The van is usually covered and black in color.

The Black Maria is also called 'Mothers Heart' or ‘Paddywagon.’

In some cases the Black Maria serves as an ambulance. While functioning as an ambulance, a Black Maria is not held to the same limitations imposed on civilian cars and may thus ignore speed limits, signal lights and through stop signs, but these exemptions are conditioned upon the vehicle being operated with due regard for safety and they do not protect the driver from the consequences of a reckless disregard of the safety of others, or from the consequence of an arbitrary exercise of the right of way. [Wolfe v. Pittsburgh, 373 Pa. 626 (Pa. 1953)].