Negligent Operation is a misdemeanor crime in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Law chapter 90 section 24 defines negligent operation as driving in a way that endangers the lives and safety of the public. Police may charge it even if there has not been an accident. Anyone convicted of negligent operation faces jail time, probation, license loss and fees.
Attorney Patrick Donovan many times has helped many people avoid those harsh penalties including a lengthy license loss. If you have been charged with negligent operation, call for a free consultation.
WHAT IS NEGLIGENT OPERATION IN MASSACHUSETTS?
Negligent operation in Massachusetts has three elements. In order to be found guilty the Assistant District Attorney must prove:
- First, one operated a motor vehicle.
- Second, on a public way or in a place to which the public has a right of access.
- Third, that you did so negligently, so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered.
What does”negligently” mean?
Massachusetts courts define negligent acts when a person does not use care. That a negligent person acts in way that a reasonable person would not act. A person would act negligently if he or she drove in a way a reasonable person would not have and by driving that way they created an unnecessary danger to others.
A person can be convicted of negligent operation even if there was not an accident. A person can also be convicted of operating negligently in Massachusetts even if no one else was on the road. As long as someone could have been endanger then one could be convicted of negligent operation.
A person is not necessarily guilty of negligent operation if there was an accident. If there was an accident then all of the evidence needs to be examined to determine how the accident happened.
A jury or a judge is required to consider all points in determining whether or not someone is guilty of operating negligently. How fast the person was driving, the way the car was being operated ( swerving, weaving in and out of traffic ect), road conditions, time of the day are some points that need to be considered.
A person can be convicted of negligent operation even if they did not intend to drive in an unsafe way. The person’s mindset or whether they intended to drive poorly is irrelevant.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY FOR NEGLIGENT OPERATION IN MASSACHUSETTS?
The penalty for Negligent operation in Massachusetts is for not less than 2 weeks or not more than 2 years in jail. A fine of not less than $20, not more than $200, plus a $250 Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund surcharge; or both imprisonment and fine.
If this is a subsequent offense it may not be filed or continued without a finding. Except upon motion and judge’s certificate that such is in the interests of justice.
Also, the RMV may and shall, unless judge recommends otherwise, revoke the person’s driver’s license for 60 days. Or for subsequent offenses within 3 years, for 1 year, subject to reinstatement after investigation. RMV may revoke registration if defendant is owner or has exclusive control of vehicle. The Massachusetts RMV treats convictions of negligent operation as a major violation resulting in 5 surchargeable points.
ARE THERE DEFENSES TO NEGLIGENT OPERATION?
Yes, there are legal defenses to Negligent Operation. The main defense is that the person acted reasonably. Another defense is that the person was facing an emergency which required a quick decision. If there was an emergency and they acted reasonably then that is also a defense.
The harsh consequences of jail and license loss can be avoided if there is no conviction.
MASSACHUSETTS CRIMINAL ATTORNEY
Attorney Patrick T. Donovan represents many clients who have been charged with motor vehicle crimes including negligent operation. Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Patrick T. Donovan fights for the best possible outcome for each and every one of his clients.
As a former prosecutor Attorney Donovan knows the strategies district attorneys use when trying to get a criminal conviction. Mr. Donovan uses his prior knowledge as an Assistant District Attorney to his clients’ advantage.
Contact Attorney Patrick T. Donovan today for your free initial consultation at (617)479-1800