Operating Negligently So As To Endanger


Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24provides that anyone who operates a motor vehicle upon a public way negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered is guilty of a crime. There are three essential factors that must be proved for you to be convicted of this offense.

  • First, you must have operated a motor vehicle.
  • Second, you must have done so on a public way or where the public has the right of access or where members of the public have access as guests.
  • Third, operation must have occurred in a negligent manner so that it might have endangered the lives or safety of other people.

Massachusetts law holds that a person acts negligently when he or sheacts in a way that a reasonable person would not. This can happen by an affirmative act or by the failure to act when a reasonably prudent person would do so. If by acting in that manner or failing to act in the appropriate manner you create an unnecessary danger to others or one that you could have avoided by acting appropriately you have can be found guilty of this crime. There does not have to be an accident for you to be convicted of this offense. Factors that are looked at in evaluating your conduct include the speed at which you were traveling, the manner of operation, the condition of your vehicle, the time of day, the type of road on which you were operating, weather conditions, the conduct of other vehicles or pedestrians, and much more. Keep in mind that reckless operation can occur even on a deserted street. Intoxication can certainly also factor into the case. Another driver’s actions are not relevant unless that driver was the sole cause of what happened.

A conviction of this offense carries a possible 2-year jail sentence.

Will I Get A Clerk Magistrate Hearing For A Charge of Operating Negligently So As to Endanger?

This simple answer to this question is: you might. In certain instances, you definitely will. For example, if someone called in your actions and the police did not make personal observations of your manner of operation you will get a clerk’s hearing. If there was an accident, the ensuing police investigation might trigger a clerk’s hearing. If the police observed your operation and determined that a criminal complaint should beissued, then you might not get a clerk’s hearing. If you are handed a citation you can request a hearing by checking the correct box and sending the citation to the address listed. Even if you are guilty of negligent operation so as to endanger the clerk magistrate may, in some instances, elect not to issue the complaint.

Having an experienced lawyer at your side during this hearing improves your chances of success at this proceeding. Our advice is for you to hire a strong lawyer. There are lots of remedies short of issuing a complaint that a good lawyer is going to be aware of and proper advocacy at a clerk’s hearing could resolve your case favorably.


Schedule a Free Initial Consultation.

I have had tremendous success in the area of my practice and understand what needs to be done in order to increase your chances of obtaining a successful result.  If you have questions, please contact me at my office at (508) 791-9001 or by cell phone at (508) 769-7995.   You may also e-mail me criminaldefenseworcester@gmail.com or text me.  I take great pride is a very quick response time and will promptly schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience.  I have also begun to conduct quite a few meetings via FACETIME or SKYPE for those clients who are either out of state or have license issues.