Negligent Operation / Driving to Endanger
Fighting a Massachusetts Operating to Endanger Offense
Understanding Driving to Endanger (Operating a Motor Vehicle so as to Endanger) laws in Massachusetts.
Negligent Operation and Reckless Operation both fall under the umbrella of Massachusetts’ Driving to Endanger laws. (Chapter 90 , Section 24(1)(h)(2)(a))
There is, however, a difference in the elements between Negligent Operation and Reckless Operation.
Reckless Operation must be proven to be actually reckless. Reckless driving is considered a higher standard, and more dangerous behavior than negligent. Reckless could mean knowingly risking, at a level that is more than careless. Driving 100mph at night with your lights off might be considered reckless and dangerous driving.
Negligent Operation need only be proven to be negligent, which could be carelessness, or simply not paying attention. If you are playing with your radio or GPS system while driving, and swerve into another lane, that might ben an example of negligent operation.
Driving to Endanger Penalties
The penalties under Massachusetts law for either form of driving to endanger is the same, which is:
- Fines up to $200.
- Possible Jail Sentence of up 2 two years.
- Or, both jail time and the fine.
Also, there is a $250 fee, known as the Head Injury Assessment Fee. In addition, points on your license could result in administrative license suspension by the registry.
Any criminal conviction on record is no joke. In particular, a criminal driving offense conviction can prevent you from being able to rent a car.
Why are there two different laws with the same penalty? It’s basically an idiosyncrasy of Massachusetts laws.
Negligent operation is easier to prove that reckless operation, so that is charged more frequently. But both are serious offenses.
Driving to Endanger Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing
If you are giving a uniform citation with the check box criminal selected, you need to send it in within 4 days to request a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing.
A clerk’s hearing is actually the best opportunity to win your case, and get the case dropped without a criminal charge being issued.
I win a lot of cases at clerk magistrate’s hearings. In fact, I wrote an entire book on it.
Give me a call, and I’ll let you know what I think the chances are that we can win your case, and keep your record clean.
If you are facing a driving to endanger charge, please call (781) 817-6332. At the Law Offices of Russell Matson we are experienced defense attorneys at fighting all forms of criminal traffic offenses in Massachusetts.
Don’t just plead guilty to a driving to endanger charge in Massachusetts without a fight! The consequences of this criminal charge can be significant.