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What is Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle?


negligent operation of a motor vehicle

In Massachusetts, the charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle can even be punishable by time in the House of Correction. It is crucial to hire a skilled attorney to help defend you in court to give you the best chance of a desirable outcome.

What is Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle?

If you are charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, this means that you are accused of operating a motor vehicle in a way that could have, or did endanger the public.

What does the Prosecution Have to Prove?

The Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you operated a motor vehicle
  2. That you did so in a way/place the public has access to either generally, or as licensees or invitees
  3. That you did so in a negligent manner so the safety of the public may have been in danger

Keep in mind, even if there was no accident, you can still be charged with this crime. The charge just means that you allegedly drove in a way that could have endangered the public, even if no one was in the vicinity.

What are the Possible Penalties for Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle if I’m Convicted?

If you’re convicted of negligent operation of a motor vehicle in Massachusetts, you could face jail time, and/or you may have to pay fines to the state. The fine is not less than $20, and not more than $200, plus a $250 Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund surcharge. Additionally, the RMV could also revoke your license for 60 days, unless the judge recommends otherwise. The RMV may also revoke the vehicle’s registration if you are the registered owner or if you are the one who has exclusive control of the vehicle.

Do I Still Need an Attorney if I am Summonsed for a Clerk’s Hearing for This Charge?

YES! If you are summonsed to court for a clerk’s hearing for the charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, your first course of action should be to hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to attend the clerk’s hearing with you. A clerk’s hearing is a hearing in front of a clerk magistrate (not a judge) to determine whether or not there is probably cause to formally charge you. That is why is is extremely important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are to appear in court for a clerk’s hearing: it is possible that the clerk will decide against formally charging you, in which case the charge would not show up on your record.


I have office locations in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, but can also meet with you via Zoom or phone if that is more convenient. I have handled dozens of cases in which my clients have been charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Reach out to me by sending me a message on my website, or you can call or text me at 617-296-7500. I handle criminal defense cases all over the Greater Boston area!




Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

Boston Attorney

The court system is stressful, whether you’re being charged with a crime, being sued, suing someone, or fighting for your ability to stay and work in this country. You need someone who appreciates this and can dedicate the time not only to represent you effectively in court but to guide you through the process.

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