Negligent Operation in Massachusetts

An accident and negligence are two different things.

Negligent Operation Criminal Defense Attorney

Negligent Operation (a/k/a Operating a Motor Vehicle to Endanger), is a misdemeanor offense governed by M.G.L. c. 90 §24(2)(a)  A conviction of Negligent Operation requires proof  beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated a motor vehicle "negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered."  A conviction for negligent operation  negligently carries a fine of $20-$200, jail from 2 weeks to 2 years, or both.  It can also have collateral consequences such as license suspension, increased insurance rates and possibly a civil lawsuit.

Remember, the fact that an accident occurred is not by itself evidence that anyone was negligent.  A jury can consider how the accident happened,  including the defendant’s rate of speed and manner of operation, the defendant’s physical condition and ability to see and control the vehicle, the condition of the vehicle, traffic and road conditions, weather, etc.   Very often, these factors (and any others that present themselves) work in your favor and can be used to your advantage.

Operating to Endanger or Negligent Operation are defensible and quite frequently the police may not know who was driving the car at the time of the accident.  If you speak to the police and admit that you were driving, you will most certainly be charged.  We can help determine the status of the police investigation against you and protect your rights.  Sometimes, the client wasn't involved and the police have it wrong.

No matter the situation, we can help.  Do not speak to the police until you speak to an attorney.

If you are facing a Negligent Operation charge, contact us.  We are experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys and can help you to protect your rights and limit your exposure. 


In order to be found guilty of Operating a Motor Vehicle to Endanger, the prosecutor must prove five things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1.  The defendant operated a motor vehicle;
  2.  The defendant operated it on a way, or in a place where the public has a right of access, or in a place where members of the public have access as invitees or licensees;
  3.  While the defendant was operating the vehicle, he or she did so negligently such that the lives or safety of the public might have been endangered.

Free Consultation on Any Massachusetts Criminal Charges

If you would like to speak about your case and get an expert opinion, please call or text us at any time.  We will listen to the facts of your case, address your concerns and let you know what your options are.

The initial consultation is free and there is no pressure to hire.  If you choose to hire us, we will give you a reasonable quote and we can discuss payment options.

Some related content...

Criminal Defense FAQ

We Hope This Helps!

NO, you shouldn't! At least not without a lawyer after careful consideration.

Think about it. The police have a job, which is to solve crimes and bring criminal charges. The only reason for them to call you is because they are looking for evidence and there is no better evidence than your statement. Very often, they are calling you because they don't have enough evidence to charge you yet and they're looking to make their case with your statements.

They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. There is nothing to "clear up". They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Seriously, don't speak to the police without consulting a criminal defense lawyer first.

First, unless you have committed a very serious crime, the chances of you going to jail are minimal (especially if you hire a good attorney). In any event, this is not something that typically would happen until many months down the road.

We're not going to lie to you, if the prosecution can meet the burden of proof on your case, there will be consequences, ranging from a slap on the wrist to jail time. Our job is to minimize the consequences and to eliminate them, if possible.

Of course, this depends on the charges, your criminal history and many other factors, so please feel free to reach out and we can give you a more specific answer.

No, no, no, no no! Even if you decide to eventually take responsibility, your lawyer should negotiate the best deal possible. What this means depends entirely the circumstances of your criminal charge, but very often you can take responsibility and still avoid a permanent criminal record. It may also involve:

  • Pre-Trial Probation or Pre-Trial Diversion
  • An outright Dismissal of your charges upon payment of court costs
  • A Continuation Without a Finding, including the length and terms of your probation (after which the case is dismissed)
  • A period of straight probation without a jail or state prison sentence
  • A suspended sentence, where a sentence is imposed, but not served unless probation is violated
  • A lesser sentence to jail or prison and less severe conditions upon release

This is to say nothing of the fact that your case may be winnable on a motion to dismiss or at trial!

In many cases, yes. Some cases have issues that may justify a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss for lack of evidence.

Others can and should be taken to trial, or call for a plea as soon as possible so the client can move on with their life.

The decision on what to do really depends on the facts of the case and your individual goals.

This is why it is important to speak to an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney who can quickly evaluate your specific case to see if there are any issues worth pursuing.

Related Content:

Strategy and Potential Issues in Massachusetts Criminal Cases

It is very possible that you can avoid a criminal record, especially if you don't have a significant criminal history and and it is a relatively minor offense.

The answer to this question is very case-specific, depending on the facts of your case and what we decide to do with it.

A vast majority of our criminal cases cases are handled on a flat fee basis, ranging from a clerk-magistrate's hearing to superior court or federal court cases.

All we can tell you is that we are always up front and honest, and will treat you fairly. We're also willing to work with you on payments if we can, as this is not all about the money.

Of course, it is prefereable to have an attorney at the arraignment, but don't panic! First, you can call or text me at any time and I may be able to be there. If not, take a look at this link for all the information you need:

Arraignment in Massachusetts – What You Need to Know.

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