Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
In Massachusetts it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle that does not have a certain required amount of insurance. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 34J. To convict someone the district attorney must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you either 1) operated a motor vehicle or permitted someone else to drive your automobile, 2) that such operation was on a public way as defined by Massachusetts law and 3) that the vehicle was not covered by the minimum amount of insurance required by law at that time. If you are convicted of this offense there is a fine of $500 to $5,000 and there is a possible 1 year jail sentence.
An interesting aspect of this law is that people from other states who drive through Massachusetts are not subject to this law if the law of their state does not require insurance provide that that state has a reciprocal law. There are however three situations where this provision of the law does not apply to out of state residents. One, if the person drives in Massachusetts for more than 30 days per year. Two, where the person owns a home in Massachusetts. Three, where the person owns a business in Massachusetts.
Charges like this are typically resolved short of trial. It is best that if you have been charged with this crime and you did not have a liability policy in place at the time you obtain the compulsory insurance as soon as possible. This will likely benefit you relative to the disposition of your case.
I Have Been Charged With Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle in Massachusetts. What Should I Do?
If you have been charged with operating an uninsured motor vehicle crime in Massachusetts you will probably end up in court through a summons. If the charge stands alone the typical route is to have a clerk’s hearing where a clerk magistrate will make the decision of whether or not to issue a criminal complaint. If the charge is accompanied by more serious crimes then the summons might be for an arraignment on all charges. Regardless of how or where you end up in court on this crime the best thing you can do is to obtain insurance before the hearing. Usually, if you provide proof of insurance in court, the clerk magistrate may not issue the complaint. If a complaint has issued a judge might dismiss the complaint prior to arraignment. Oftentimes the district attorney’s office agrees to a dismissal upon proof of insurance.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for the Crime?
I always advise anyone who contacts me to hire a lawyer anytime someone has to go into court. An experienced lawyer will know the best, most efficient way to resolve your case for you. Why risk having a criminal record if you don’t need to? There are so many ways that a lawyer can help you with your case that might not be obvious to you. Minor motor vehicle convictions can adversely impact you in the future. So why take a chance? Hire someone who defends criminal accusations immediately.