Reckless operation is a criminal offense in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Law C 90 s 24 defines reckless operation. It is defined as operating a motor vehicle on a public way in a reckless manner.
The district attorney must prove three elements, beyond a reasonable doubt, to get a conviction. It is not enough to show that you were merely negligent in your driving, but rather that you knew, should have known, or were indifferent to the fact that the manner in which you were driving was likely to result in death or serious harm to another person.
What is Reckless Operation in Massachusetts?
Reckless operation is based on an observation of your operation. That is, no accident or close encounter of serious harm actually needs to occur. Also, no other cars or people need even be on the same road or the general vicinity. An accident alone is not enough to prove reckless operation.
Courts in Massachusetts look at many factors in deciding reckless operation cases. One factor is the speed and manner of the driving. Another important factor is the condition of the road and the car for the weather. Also, factors include the type of road on which you were driving and the circumstances surrounding it. Ultimately how much potential risk you posed to the public.
Examples of driving recklessly include speeding at an extremely high rate. Other examples include following too closely, cutting other drivers off, or weaving in and out of the lanes.
Defenses and Penalties
An emergency is one potential defense to a reckless operation charge in Massachusetts. This defense depends on an evaluation of whether or not a reasonable person would have acted in that way in light of your emergency. However, a more common approach to defense would be to argue that your driving did not amount to recklessness. Also, your driving record and criminal history are also relevant factors.
Reckless operation is a misdemeanor crime in Mass. The penalty is up to 2 years in jail and a $200 fine. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles imposes a 60 mandatory license suspension to anyone convicted of reckless operation.