If you are facing a Motor Vehicle Crime in Massachusetts it is important to speak with an attorney who specializes in criminal law as soon as possible. In Massachusetts, felony motor vehicle crimes include Motor Vehicle Homocide under the Influence, Motor Vehicle Theft, Carjacking, and certain OUI offense. Additionally,several Motor Vehicle Offenses, under chapter 90 of the Massachusetts General Laws, can carry with them potential jail time, fines, fees and potential loss of license. These offense include, but are not limited to, charges of Negligent Operation, Operating after a Suspended License, Operating to Endanger, Leaving the Scene of Property Damage (also known as hit and run), Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury, Use Without Authority and Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Although many of these offense are misdemeanors, and normally not subject to arrest, police are authorized to make an arrest on these motor vehicle violations subjecting the offender to serious potential penalties. Police may also charge with civil violations including driving without a license, running a red light or stop sign, speeding or any other moving violation. Criminal Attorney Bonavita will talk to you about the reason(s) why you were stopped by police, and any potential legal and factual defenses.
What Are the Penalties for Motor Vehicle Crimes?
Penalties for Motor Vehicle Crimes vary depending on whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor offense; but if people are hurt or seriously injured in a motor vehicle crime, the penalties for conviction are severe and can include jail time and/or heavy fines. Even if nobody has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle crime, a conviction may affect your livelihood. You may find that car insurance is very expensive or impossible to obtain, your license may be suspended or revoked, and it may be hard to travel to your job or for work itself if you cannot drive after being convicted. Misdemeanor convictions can also bring imprisonment and fines, but they are typically lighter than those given for felony convictions.
Motor vehicle homicide is a crime governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24G(b). To convict a defendant of this offense, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (1) operated a motor vehicle (2) on a public way and (3) caused a death EITHER (4) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or glue OR by operating the motor vehicle recklessly or negligently so as to endanger the lives or safety of the public.
This law was designed to create a middle ground between the misdemeanor of driving to endanger and the felony of manslaughter. It is not a lesser included offense of manslaughter.
It is important to note the difference between motor vehicle homicide and motor vehicle homicide under the influence. Motor vehicle homicide under the influence is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 section 24G(a). Unlike motor vehicle homicide, which requires proof that the defendant either drove under the influence or drove recklessly or negligently, motor vehicle homicide under the influence requires proof that the defendant both operated under the influence and did so recklessly or negligently.
Motor vehicle homicide is punishable by at least 30 days and up to 2 1/2 years in jail or a house of correction or by a fine of at least $300 and up to $3,000, or both the jail time and the fine. The more serious crime of motor vehicle homicide under the influence is punishable by at least 2 ½ years and up to 15 years in state prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for at least a year and up to 2 ½ years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Carjacking is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 21A. Carjacking is the crime of assaulting, maiming, confining or putting a person in fear for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle. Read More…
Motor Vehicle Larceny is a felony offense governed by chapter 266, section 28 of the Massachusetts General Laws. At common law, larceny was defined as the trespassory taking and carrying away of the property of another person with the intent to steal. Read More…
Leaving the Scene of Property Damage or Personal Injury
A driver who has gotten into an accident, by hitting another car or by injuring another driver, pedestrian or passenger, is supposed to stop, exchange contact information with the other party, and try to help or call for help. If a driver does not stop, there are penalties once the at–fault driver is apprehended. The penalty for a Massachusetts hit and run can range from receiving a traffic ticket, being ordered to pay for the victim’s damages, being fined, having points added to the driver’s license or insurance policy if the state allows it, the suspension or loss of a driver’s license, probation, and/or jail time.
If a person is seriously injured or dies as a result of the hit and run, the driver is charged with a felony. If the driver hits an unoccupied motor vehicle, or property, it is the responsibility of the driver to leave a note with a description of what happened, the damage seen, and contact information for the affected owner. Failing to do so is also considered a hit and run or Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.
Typically, in most states, it is the law to stop after an accident, try to help anyone injured by calling the police and emergency responders, and to give and receive contact information for both drivers (or other injured or damaged parties) involved. Once police and other responders have arrived, the driver will be asked to give a statement about what happened. The motor vehicle that caused the accident will be turned in to the police for more investigation. At that point, contacting an attorney with hit and run experience is the best way to navigate the situation. Working with an attorney may help get the penalties for the charge reduced, depending on the specifics of the case including details about the accident, how much damage occurred, and how cooperative the driver is with police while the case is being analyzed.
Reckless Driving / Driving to Endanger / Negligent Operation
This is the charge of driving a motor vehicle dangerously. It can include speeding, going too fast under certain conditions even within the speed limit, driving while impaired by alcohol (but not considered officially drunk as determined by a blood alcohol content level), driving with too many people in a vehicle, and other moving violations. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor.
Whether your license has been suspended or revoked due to moving violations, failure to take a breathalyzer test, operating under the influence (OUI), or other issues, figuring out how to navigate Massachusetts’ court system and get your driver’s license reinstated can be confusing. Read More…
This is the charge of driving a car, either your own or someone else’s, that doesn’t have enough insurance as mandated by the state, when driven on a public road, street, lane or highway. Convictions can bring penalties of a fine from $500 to $5,000, potential jail time of up to a year, license suspension of up to 60 days for a first offense and up to a year for a second offense, and probable insurance surcharges and other potential costs. Read More…
Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle
If you are facing charges for a Vehicular Crime in Newburyport, Boston, Revere, Salem, Amesbury, Salisbury, Lawrence, Ipswich, or any town in the Essex, Suffolk, or Middlesex counties in Massachusetts, call Criminal Defense Attorney Bonavita immediately at 978-376-6746 or email her with your case information!