Motor Vehicle Crimes
It is common for a person charged with a motor vehicle crime to be charged with more than one thing, and potential punishments and charges may intersect. A motor vehicle charge often occurs due to a lapse in judgment, rather than the result of someone who has committed many other crimes. It is crucial to find an experienced attorney who can ensure that any charges will have the least amount of, if any, convictions and punishments as possible. Our attorneys will also determine if there was reason for the police to stop you, whether sobriety tests were properly given, and if your motor vehicle was working adequately, in order to develop the best case on your behalf.
If you have a traffic violation, speeding ticket, or any other kind of moving infraction, click here for more information. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have been fighting and winning traffic violation hearings for over 50 years so call 617.492.3000 to schedule your free case evaluation or contact us online today.Hit & Run
A driver who has gotten into an accident, by hitting another car or by injuring another driver, pedestrian or passenger, is supposed to stop, exchange contact information with the other party, and try to help or call for help. If a driver does not stop, there are penalties once the at–fault driver is apprehended. These can range from receiving a traffic ticket, being ordered to pay for the victim's damages, being fined, having points added to the driver's license or insurance policy if the state allows it, the suspension or loss of a driver's license, probation, and/or jail time.
If a person is seriously injured or dies as a result of the hit and run, the driver is charged with a felony. If the driver hits an unoccupied motor vehicle, or property, it is the responsibility of the driver to leave a note with a description of what happened, the damage seen, and contact information for the affected owner. Failing to do so is also considered a hit and run.
Typically, in most states, it is the law to stop after an accident, try to help anyone injured by calling the police and emergency responders, and to give and receive contact information for both drivers (or other injured or damaged parties) involved. Once police and other responders have arrived, the driver will be asked to give a statement about what happened. The motor vehicle that caused the accident will be turned in to the police for more investigation. At that point, contacting an attorney with hit and run experience is the best way to navigate the situation. Working with an attorney may help get the penalties for the charge reduced, depending on the specifics of the case including details about the accident, how much damage occurred, and how cooperative the driver is with police while the case is being analyzed.Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter is the charge of killing another person due to illegal driving. This can include gross negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving, or speeding. It can be a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the circumstances. It is important to immediately contact an attorney should you or a loved one be charged with vehicular manslaughter.Reckless Driving or Driving to Endanger
This is the charge of driving a motor vehicle dangerously. It can include speeding, going too fast under certain conditions even within the speed limit, driving while impaired by alcohol (but not considered officially drunk as determined by a blood alcohol content level), driving with too many people in a vehicle, and other driving-related activities. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor.Driving With a Revoked or Suspended License
This charge is when a person continues to drive after that person’s driving license has been permanently or temporarily taken away for a particular amount of time. It is typically a misdemeanor charge, and in Massachusetts, it carries a fine of $500 and jail time of zero to six months, though circumstances may affect the penalties.Motor Vehicle Theft
This is the charge of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle from its rightful owner. It can include taking the vehicle without keys, (such as breaking and entering or towing the car), by stealing the owner’s keys, by force such as carjacking, or by fraudulent theft such as paying for a car with counterfeit checks or by identify theft.Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
This is the charge of driving a car, either your own or someone else’s, that doesn’t have enough insurance as mandated by the state, when driven on a public road, street, lane or highway. Convictions can bring penalties of a fine from $500 to $5,000, potential jail time of up to a year, license suspension of up to 60 days for a first offense and up to a year for a second offense, and probable insurance surcharges and other potential costs.
Other states do not have this charge, so if an out-of-state driver is stopped while in Massachusetts and does not have adequate or any insurance on the motor vehicle, it is possible that this driver wouldn’t be charged under Massachusetts law. However, the Mass. law does apply to people who drive in the state for more than 30 days each year, for people who own homes in Massachusetts (even if their primary residence is elsewhere), and for people who run a business in the state.
If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a motor vehicle crime, call Altman and Altman at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll–free), or contact us online for a free consultation.