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Operating Recklessly

One of the sections of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 24 Section 90 makes operating recklessly a criminal offense. The law prohibits you from operating recklessly on a public way. There are three elements the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime.

  1. That you operated a motor vehicle.
  2. That you operated a motor vehicle on a public way. The definition of public way is consistent throughout Chapter 90 of Massachusetts laws.
  3. That you operated the motor vehicle in a reckless manner.
What is Reckless Driving in Massachusetts?

Driving recklessly occurs when you ignore the fact that the manner of driving is very likely to result in death or serious injury to someone. Driving recklessly also occurs when you drive in a manner that shows that you are indifferent to whether someone is killed or seriously injured. If you act negligently that is not enough to convict you of reckless operation. The district attorney must show that your actions went beyond negligence. You can be found reckless if you knew or should have known that your actions would pose a grave danger of death or seriously bodily injury to others but that notwithstanding you chose to take the risk and operate in that forbidden manner.

What If There Was no Accident ... Can I Still Be Charged with Reckless Operation?

There does not have to be an accident for you to be convicted of this crime. Nor for that matter does there need to be anyone else on the road near you to be convicted of this crime. If the district attorney proves that you consciously disregarded a significant possibility of serious injury to anyone who might be on the road or if you were indifferent to that fact you can be convicted of reckless driving.

However, even if there is an accident that fact alone will not suffice to prove you drove recklessly. The fact finder (judge or jury) must take into account other factors in deciding your fate. Such factors include how fast you were driving, the manner of operation, your physical condition, the condition of the vehicle, the type of road, the time of day, weather conditions, the actions of other vehicles or people on the road and many other factors.

What Can I Expect in Court If I Am Charged with Driving Recklessly?

The answer to this question depends on several things. Your driving record is initially considered along with your criminal history. If you have an unblemished driving record or unremarkable entries on your registry printout your lawyer might convince the district attorney to agree to a dismissal with court costs. When this is not the case your lawyer can try to get you pretrial probation. If neither of these work then a continuance without a finding might be pursued. Sometimes these cases get resolved at a clerk magistrate hearing.

If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense in Massachusetts make sure you find out if the charge is criminal or civil. If there is any question you should contact an experienced Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes Defense Lawyer such as Stephen Neyman. You can do so online now.

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