Defending Charges for Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle & Reckless Driving

Also sometimes charged in Massachusetts as Driving to endanger or operating a motor vehicle so as to endanger

Serving Hampshire County, Franklin County and surrounding communities

In Massachusetts, an arrest or citation for negligent or reckless operation of a motor vehicle, also known as operating a motor vehicle as to endanger, is not just a traffic ticket but a serious criminal offense. The charge alleges that you drove your vehicle in a manner that endangered the lives and safety of the public.

If convicted, you could face:

  • 2 years in jail
  • expensive fines
  • higher car insurance rates
  • demerit points on your driver’s license
  • driver’s license suspension for up to 60 days

To best protect your freedom and driving privileges, it’s necessary to obtain a criminal defense attorney who understands local driving laws in Hampshire County. The Law Offices of Thomas Kokonowski, Esq. prides itself on offering quality legal representation to individuals so they can get their lives back on track.

Mr. Kokonowski, a former prosecutor, draws from his 25 years of trial experience to launch aggressive defenses for his clients. As your legal advocate, he will work diligently to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced to a civil, non-criminal offense, either in a clerk’s hearing or a pretrial hearing.

Avoid Criminal Prosecution and the Loss of Your License

There’s nothing worse than a permanent criminal record. Call the Law Offices of Thomas Kokonowski, Esq. today to schedule a free and confidential legal assessment of your case.

Contact us:  413.585.9200 (Northampton) or 413.549.0022 (Amherst).

What Types of Actions Result in a Negligent Operation?

In a negligent operation of a motor vehicle case, negligence is defined as failing to
exercise due care or driving in a way that a reasonably prudent person would not have and creating an unnecessary danger that could have been prevented.

You can be convicted regardless of whether or not you caused an accident. The main issue is whether you ignored or were indifferent to the possibility of someone being hurt.

Negligent operation covers a broad range of offenses including but not limited to:

  • Operating under the influence (OUI)
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating)
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Tailgating or driving too closely
  • Failure to check blind spot before switching lanes
  • Weaving between lanes
  • Failure to allow enough time or space to merge, leave, or cross traffic
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Driving on the median
  • Drag racing
  • Excessive speeding
  • Driving carelessly with an obstructed view
  • Driving too fast for weather conditions (snow, ice, rain) that results in an accident

In order to convict you, the Commonwealth must prove three essential
elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. you operated a motor vehicle.
  2. you operated a motor vehicle on a “public way,” which references any place where the public has access. This can include public streets, roads, and highways, as well as parking lots.
  3. you knew or should have known that your actions would pose a grave danger of death or seriously bodily injury to others, but you chose to take the risk and operate in a negligent or reckless manner.

When determining negligence, the court will take several additional factors into consideration:

  • rate of speed;
  • manner of operation;
  • your physical condition and how well you could see and control your vehicle;
  • condition of the vehicle;
  • type of road;
  • whether anyone else was on the road;
  • time of day and weather conditions;
  • what any other vehicles or pedestrians were doing at the time; and
  • how much potential risk you posed to the public.

Request a Clerk Magistrate Hearing 

If you were handed a citation from a police officer, you can request a clerk magistrate hearing by checking the correct box on the back of the ticket and sending the citation to the address listed. Shortly thereafter, you should receive a summons to appear at the hearing.

Mr. Kokonowski can represent you at the clerk magistrate hearing and attempt to negotiate a resolution. Many times, he can prevent formal criminal charges from being issued against you and propose an alternative such as completion of a driver’s safety course.

Contact the Law Offices of Tom Kokonowski, Esq. today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case in detail and to learn more about the legal options you have available to you.

Contact us:  413.585.9200 (Northampton) or 413.549.0022 (Amherst)