Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle is a criminal offense that will result in a 60-day license suspension for a first conviction and a 1-year license suspension for a second conviction within 3 years. A conviction will also result in an insurance premium increase and it counts as a major violation under the Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law, G.L. c. 90 § 22F.
In many cases, a police officer will charge a person accused of operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs with negligent operation. This is done to give the prosecution an opportunity to convict the defendant of something if he or she beats the DUI charge.
The police sometimes file immediate threat complaints in these cases where a driver is cited for negligent operation. When this happens, the Registry will immediately suspend the defendant’s driver’s license and the Registry will not consider reinstatement until the negligent operation charge is resolved in court. These suspensions can be appealed to the Board of Appeal and this Appellate Board has the authority to order the Registry to reinstate the defendant’s license.
If you are cited for Negligent Operation, you must submit the citation to the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office within 4 days of the issuance of the citation to request a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. If you fail to submit the citation in a timely manner, the court can automatically schedule your case for an arraignment. If this occurs, you will lose your right to a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. These hearings provide the defendant with a very important opportunity to get the charge dismissed prior to arraignment. There are often major benefits to this type of resolution.
In order to obtain a conviction for Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed more than just a simple motor vehicle infraction such as speeding. There must be an element of recklessness associated with the driving behavior.
Reckless driving is a criminal offense, which means that the Commonwealth must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Meeting this standard of proof requires credible evidence which satisfies a judge or jury that the person accused drove on a public way or where the public has a right of access in such a negligent manner so that the lives and safety of the public may have been endangered by the driver’s behavior.
There are numerous tactics and defenses available in these cases. Making the right moves can prevent a conviction and preserve your driver’s license. Contact Attorney Brian Simoneau for more information.