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Massachusetts G.L.c. 90, § 24 (2)(a ½)(2): Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, section 24 governs a wide variety of motor vehicle related criminal offenses. Specifically, under section 24(2)(a ½)(2) a person may be charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.

The relevant portion of the statute pertaining to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death defines this offense as follows:

“Whoever operates a motor vehicle upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public shall have access as invitees or licensees and without stopping and making known his name, residence and the registration number of his motor vehicle, goes away to avoid prosecution or evade apprehension after knowingly colliding with or otherwise causing injury to any person…resulting in death”

A conviction of a charge under section 24(2)(a ½)(2) requires that the government prove several essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The government must prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle;
  2. That this operation occurred on a public way, or in a place where members of the public have access;
  3. That by this operation the defendant did knowingly collide with another person;
  4. That this collision resulted in death;
  5. That after knowingly causing such injury the defendant failed to stop and provide name, address and registration number; and
  6. That the defendant failed to do so for the purpose of avoiding prosecution or apprehension.

The elements of the offense here are very similar to those for the crimes of leaving the scene of property damage and leaving the scene of personal injury. As with those offenses the law here provides the same affirmative duty to immediately stop at the scene and offer the specific information required, including name, address and vehicle registration.

The charge of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death requires two additional key elements: the collision must result in death and the government must prove that the defendant failed to stop for the purpose of evading apprehension or prosecution.

The Commonwealth need not prove that the defendant knew that the collision resulted in death, but the Commonwealth does need to prove that the defendant knew that he had a collision with a person. Further, the Commonwealth must prove that it was this collision that was the cause of death. The Commonwealth must also prove that the defendant acted with the specific intent of avoiding apprehension or prosecution.

Charges for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death are very serious and carry substantial penalties.

Penalties

A person convicted under this statute may face a penalty of 2 ½ years to up to 10 years in state prison, or 1 year up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction. A conviction under this statute carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year; any person convicted under this section will not be eligible for parole, probation, work release or any reduction for good conduct until having served at least 1 year.

Related Offenses:
  • M.G.L. c. 90 § 24(1) – Operating Under the Influence
  • M.G.L. c. 90 § 24G – Vehicular Homicide
  • M.G.L. c. 90 § 24(2) (a) – Operating to Endanger
  • M.G.L. c. 90 § 24(2)(a ½)(1) – Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Personal Injury
  • M.G.L. c. 90 § 24(2) (a) – Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Property Damage
Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer 617-263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with motor vehicle related crime in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Neyman has multiple decades of experience defending those who have been accused of such offenses in Boston and all throughout Massachusetts. He is an aggressive and smart attorney who is relentless in protecting the rights of his clients. You can reach Attorney Neyman by calling 617-263-6800 or by sending him an email at steve@neymanlaw.com. He offers free and confidential initial consultations, which he will schedule at your convenience.

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