Negligent operation of a motor vehicle (sometimes referred to as driving to endanger or reckless driving) in Massachusetts is a criminal offense subject to imprisonment, fines, driver’s license suspension, and a criminal record. It is a serious charge and one that can impact you and your future for years to come. Calling an attorney after you are charged with reckless or negligent driving or driving to endanger, is crucial to fighting your case and helping to protect your rights.
Definition of Negligent Operation in the Boston Area
Under Massachusetts law, driving to endanger is operating a vehicle recklessly or negligently in a way that endangers the lives or safety of the public. The reckless or negligent driving does not have to cause an accident in order for an individual to be convicted of the crime. In fact, in order to obtain a conviction for driving to endanger, the Commonwealth must prove only three elements:
- That you were operating a motor vehicle,
- In a place where the public has a right of access or the public has access as licensees or invitees,
- And that the operation was in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the lives or safety of the public.
What is Reckless or Negligent Driving?
Reckless driving is driving a car in a dangerous manner, given the driving conditions, with a willful and wanton disregard for safety. This dangerous driving may or may not cause an accident, injury to others, or property damage. Negligent driving does not rise to the level of reckless driving but is still a criminal offense in the Commonwealth.
Reckless or negligent driving can include excessive speeding, illegal passing and swerving between lanes, failure to stop at stop signs, disregard for the conditions of the road, and aggressive driving, among other dangerous driving behaviors.
Penalties for Driving to Endanger
If convicted of driving to endanger, you face criminal penalties which include:
- Imprisonment of up to two years
- Fines up to $200
- Driver’s license suspension
Contact a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney
In many instances a driving to endanger charge may accompany other criminal charges including OUI/ DUI or may be charged at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. It is imperative to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the facts of your case. In some cases, you have as few as four days to request a hearing and attempt to protect your rights and driving privileges. The experienced criminal defense attorneys with the Coughlin Law Group understand that driving to endanger is a serious criminal charge in Massachusetts and can help guide you through the process and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.