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Negligent Operation / Reckless Driving in Massachusetts

A common charge that accompanies an OUI charge in Massachusetts is a charge for negligent operation of a motor vehicle. A negligent operation charge may also be brought when the motorist is not charged with OUI, but involved in a car accident. Two common ways negligent operation charge:

  1. With an OUI offense

  2. After a car accident.

What does the Commonwealth have prove to show negligent operation?

A charge of negligent operation in Massachusetts involves the police claiming that you drove a motor vehicle so that the lives and the safety of the public may have been endangered. Essentially, any deviation from the standard of that of perfect driving could result in a negligent operation charge.

A negligent operation charge can result when an accident occurs, it is often an additional charge in a Massachusetts OUI arrest, and sometimes can occur when a police officer claims that the driving was so egregious or dangerous that it goes beyond a simple traffic infraction.

  • Is there a license loss for negligent operation?

A negligent operation charge could result in a sixty day loss of license if the resolution in the case results in what is known as a conviction in Massachusetts.

  • A guilty finding on a negligent operation will result in a 60 day license loss

It is important to know that a conviction in Massachusetts means a guilty finding, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will not consider a Continuance Without a Finding, referred to as a CWOF as a conviction. If you have little or no record, you would likely be offered a CWOF to resolve the case. However, in many cases a negligent operation charge be resolved short of a probationary period, but with a dismissal upon completing a driving course or paying court costs.

Accordingly a CWOF can be a good resolution of a negligent operation charge and has a significant difference between a guilty finding in this type of offence. It is important to understand that the rule that a CWOF is not a conviction does not apply with regard to the offense of OUI/DUI.

  • What penalties will I receive if I admit to a CWOF on a negligent operation charge?

A continuance without a finding would require you to be on probation and would be an admission that you drove negligently and endangered the lives and the safety but would not result in a license loss.

  • A Negligent Operation Charge by also be dismissed under certain circumstances:

Learn about what happens at a clerk magistrate hearing when charged with negligent operation.

In many cases in a negligent operation offense the charge can be resolved short of an admission on your part. Sometimes the case can be resolved with a payment of court costs, pretrial probation or completion of a driver’s education program, sometimes known as a Brains at Risk program as a condition of the disposition of the case. A negligent operation charge has consequences for your insurance rates, your criminal record and license status.

If you are curious and want to learn more about a CWOF, click here.

It is important to speak to an experienced attorney when being charged with this offense. In some cases a negligent operation offense would also be scheduled for a clerk magistrate hearing, which is an opportunity for you to resolve the case prior to the formal charges being brought in court. If you have any questions about defending a negligent operation charge in Massachusetts you can call Attorney Delsignore at 508-455-4755 or 781-686-5924.