Articles Posted in Reckless/Negligent Operation

On July 24, 2019 SB, a 74 year old retired administrator from North Andover, was driving from Peabody Center westerly on Route 114 toward Danvers. As he traveled westerly he approached the section of Rt. 114 where the North Shore Mall is on the left and Kappy’s Liquors is on the right. He was in the third lane from the right. According to SB he applied his brakes and the car did not slow. He then turned his steering wheel to the right to pull into the parking lot of Kappy’s. There was a motocycle in the lane immediately to SB’s right. When SB made that sudden turn he collided with the motor cycle. The cyclist was thrown off the motorcycle and was severely injured. He had a fractured leg and a possible head injury. SB continued into the parking lot of Kappy’s and the police were called by another motorist. SB waited at the side of Rt. 114 and the police arrived shortly thereafter. Three witnesses at the scene all told the police that “the motorcyclist was travelling straight ahead, and the other vehicle involved turned in front of him resulting in the crash”. The motorcyclist told the police that he was travelling straight ahead when SB’s vehicle suddenly turned directly in front of him causing the crash. The police cited SB for reckless operation.

SB spoke to at least 4 criminal lawyers. SB met with Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. They had an initial free consultation that lasted 2 hours. Attorney Lewin explained to SB that reckless operation carried a potential jail sentence of 2 years and a mandatory loss of license. Attorney Lewin downloaded SB’s driver history from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and it was terrible. SB had a prior conviction for Reckless Operation, 4 surchargeable at fault accidents, and 12 other moving violations. Attorney Lewin could sense immediately that SB was going to be a difficult client. SB thought he had all the answers and he thought he knew exactly how the defense should proceed. He was dead wrong and Attorney Lewin told him so. SB retained Attorney Lewin.

Attorney Lewin explained to SB why it was so important to try to kill the case at a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. SB brought the citation to the Peabody District Court and requested a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin then went over to Peabody District Court and obtained copies of all the police reports. More importantly, Attorney Lewin met with the Police Prosecutor from the Peabody Police Department. The purpose of the meeting was to advocate on SB’s behalf to get the case resolved at the Clerk-Magistrate hearing without a criminal complaint being issued against SB – a very tall order given the facts of the case, SB’s driver record, and the severe injuries sustained.

On August 31, 2019, UN, a 21 year old college student was driving his car in Beverly, MA when he veered off the road and struck a tree head on. The police responded to the scene (along with a group of neighbors). UN was behind the wheel and appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness. His pupils were extremely dilated. In the car the police found an open container of beer along with what appeared to be a “drug pipe” (as described in the police report). Two doses of Narcan were administered to UN and he responded. He was brought to Beverly Hospital. The police cited UN for OUI Drugs and Reckless Operation. In addition, the Police also served UN with a Notice of Immediate Threat. A notice of Immediate Threat is a notice that the police send to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to request the RMV to suspend a person’s license because the person (for either a medical reason or some other reason) poses a threat to the public if they operate a motor vehicle.

UN insisted that he had not consumed any drugs or any alcohol. UN (and his family) sought out a lawyer. UN and his Mother had an initial free consultation with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. The consult ran over two hours. UN and his family hired Attorney Lewin.

Attorney Lewin told UN that the Hospital Report would be critical to defending this case – and it was. Attorney Lewin directed UN to go to the hospital and obtain a copy of the complete hospital report – including most importantly all the blood test results and all the urine test results. Sure enough, the test results showed NO alcohol and NO controlled substances -in particular NO opiates. The case became a slam dunk at that point.

On December 11, 2013 NP, a 52 year old over the road truck driver (2 million accident free miles) was operating a tractor pulling 2 trailers from Manchester, NH to Southboro, MA. As he traveled down Rt.3 he crossed from NH into MA. He was following a woman driving a car in the middle lane. He pulled to the right travel lane and as he began to pass her she speeded up and refused to let him pass. He moved in behind her again and she braked causing him to brake and he then moved again back into the right lane and again she refused to let him pass. He then moved in behind her again and this time she braked hard; he checked his mirrors and knew the left lane was clear and he moved into the left lane (illegal); again she refused to let him pass. Now he moved from the left lane, to the middle lane, to the right lane. Once in the right lane he began to pass her. The lady told the police he drove the truck at her car causing her to swerve left away from the truck. She drove off the road into the grass median where her car came to rest. The truck meanwhile went into the breakdown lane and the second trailer went onto its right side and slid for a distance of about 300 feet. NP told the police that once he was in the right lane the lady swerved to the right toward his truck and then she swerved left and lost control. NP told the police he turned to the right to avoid hitting her car. The police charged NP with the following offenses: Reckless Operation, Assault with a dangerous weapon (the truck)(a felony), Following Too Close, Speeding, Marked Lane Violation, and Left Lane Operation. NP retained Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover. A conviction would have cost NP his CDL and his livelihood. The State Police had a witness who claimed he was a truck driver who said he had seen the entire scene and in his opinion NP had tried to “kill the girl” in the car by swerving his truck at her. The girl’s boyfriend had been driving his pickup and he told the police that the truck had been tailgating his girlfriend.

On January 26, 2015 the case went to trial in Lowell District Court. A jury was chosen; the girl testified and the State Trooper testified. At the close of the Government’s case Attorney Lewin moved for a required finding of not guilty. The trial judge agreed that on the charge of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon the government had failed to put in any evidence that the girl was put in fear and the Judge ordered a finding of not guilty on the felony assault charge. NP – who had been painstakingly prepared to testify – then took the witness stand and testified. He was a great witness. He looked at the jury when he testified; he took his time; he knew the answer to every question he was asked. There were no questions for which he was not prepared. After he testified both sides rested. Attorney Lewin made an impassioned argument to the jury. The Judge then instructed the jury and at 1:00 PM the jury went out to deliberate. The judge excused everyone for lunch and instructed everyone to be back at the courtroom at 2:00 PM. When NP and Attorney Lewin returned from lunch at about 1:50 PM the court officer came over and told them there was a verdict. At 2:00 PM everyone assembled in the Courtroom. NP and Attorney Lewin stood up and the jury then announced their verdict on the reckless operation charge. They found NP not guilty. The Judge (who decides the civil motor vehicle infractions) then found NP not responsible of the speeding charge, the following too close charge, and the marked lane violation. The only charge NP was found responsible of was the Left Travel Lane Restriction Violation. NP and his family were thrilled with the result. The key to the win was in NP’s preparation to testify.

GD, a man in his late thirties, was sitting one afternoon in his car in Beverly with his Mother. A group of people with young children walked by. As they walked by they said hello to GD. He responded, allegedly, by threatening to run them over with the car. It was then alleged that GD drove the car fast and erratically toward the group. GD was charged with two counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (the car); Reckless Operation; and Disorderly Conduct. It appeared that GD suffers from paranoia and a personality disorder. GD was claiming that the car he was in was infested with spiders and that he was bitten.

GD went to Salem District Court and was arraigned on the charges. He – with the help of his family – then retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin then thoroughly reviewed all the witness statements and the police reports.Something did not seem right with the reports. Attorney Lewin filed a DiBenedetto Motion to Dismiss all the charges. A DiBenedetto Motion is a request to dismiss a criminal charge when the evidence presented to the Clerk-Magistrate does not create probable cause.

On July 16, 2013 (30 days after his arraignment) GD and Attorney Lewin appeared in Salem District Court. The case was called and Attorney Lewin told the Judge the Defense was prepared to go ahead with the Motion to Dismiss. The Assistant DA asked for a second call which the Judge granted. After reading Attorney Lewin’s Motion and the police reports the Assistant DA agreed to a dismissal of all the charges. GD and his family left the Court very happy.

On August 31, 2012, AS, a 67 year old retiree, went out for a few drinks at a local pub in Haverhill. Late at night he left the pub highly intoxicated, got into his SUV, and tried driving to his home in Methuen. In the center of Haverhill is a War Memorial which is situated on a grass plot. AS drove his SUV off the roadway, over the curb and sidewalk, into the War Memorial area. In the area was a homeless man sleeping a a bench. The front of AS’s SUV struck the bench going up over the bench over the homeless man sleeping on the bench. AS backed his car up and left the area as if nothing had happened. AS continued on his way eventually striking a roadsign and knocking it down. Once again he continued on his way. He travelled from Haverhill into Newton, NH where he drove off the road into a ditch. Witnesses had seen his car drive over the bench with the homeless man and called in his registration plate to the police. Other witnesses saw him strike the sign and called that into the police. A BOLO (Be On The Lookout) was put out by the Haverhill Police and picked up by the Newton, NH Police who had discovered AS in his car in the ditch. AS was removed from his car; he had urinated himself; he was arrested for DUI in NH. The Haverhill and Mass. State Police responded to NH to continue their investigation. It was not known if the homeless man on the bench would survive his injuries.

AS was charged with Aggravated DUI in NH (the Aggravatiung circumstance being a high Breath Test reading). In Massachusetts AS was charged with OUI/Negligent Operation Causing Serious Bodily Injury, Two counts of Leaving the Scene Property Damage, Leaving the Scene Personal Injury, two Counts of Aggravated Reckless Assault & Battery by Dangerous Weapon, and a number of civil motor vehicle infractions.

AS retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin brought in Associate Counsel to handle the NH piece of the case.

DM, a 45 year old male nurse, and two friends went to a charity dance at the Tewksbury Country Club. After an evening of dancing and several drinks DM and his two companions left the dance hall and were followed out by an angry crowd who thought that DM and his companions had stolen items from the charity dance. DM and his companions got into DM’s car and left the parking lot of the country club and headed out onto the street. DM stopped in traffic and then found his vehicle surrounded by an angry mob. Several people in the mob began beating on DM’s vehicle, smashing the windows, and punching DM. DM sustained injuries to his cheek, forehead and neck and he sustained a fractured clavicle (shoulder bone). During the assault he attempted to escape and his car struck and the vehicle in front of his. The police and fire department arrived at the scene. DM was asked to exit his vehicle which he did. The police had him perform field sobriety tests which he was unable to do to the officer’s satisfaction. DM got arrested for DWI. He was brought to the station, booked, photographed, videoed, and bailed. After getting bailed he went to the hospital where he was examined. The injuries to his face and his shoulder were noted in the hospital reports. DM retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Investigation revealed that there was a video of the front foyer of the Country Club Function Hall. Attorney Lewin obtained that video. After sifting through hours of the video DM was seen on the video twice: once walking from the function room to the men’s room (and back) and more importantly once at the end of the dance leaving the function room, walking across the foyer to the front door. In both instances his walking was perfectly normal. He did not stagger or exhibit any signs of intoxication or impairment. Defense counsel was furnished with copies of the booking videos and the booking photos. The photos were initially furnished in black and white. Attorney Lewin insisted that color photos be produced and they were. The color photos showed the bloody injuries to DM’s cheek, forehead, and neck. Attorney Lewin interviewed the driver of the car in front of DM and he confirmed DM’s account of the mob assault on DM and DM’s car. On October 17, 2011 the case went to trial in Lowell District Court. DM elected to have a jury-waived trial (that is a trial by a judge alone without a jury). DM testified; the two people he went to the dance with testified; the driver of the car that he struck after being assaulted testified; and the medical records were produced. The Judge immediately found DM not guilty. The key to success in the case was in the full preparation for trial. DM and his witnesses were thoroughly prepared for both direct examination and cross examination. All the necessary videos and photos were obtained and studied. The medical records were obtained. No stone was left unturned. DM left the court a happy man.

KG, the owner of a large construction company on Nantucket, is a giving man. He built a beautiful home for his sister and installed a large sea-shell covered driveway for her. The home and property was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but KG did not ask for any payment in return. He had only one request: to store their brother’s 1982 vintage Chevy pickup truck in the garage. Their brother was killed when he was just 18 years old and had completely restored the pickup. KG had kept the pickup truck for more than a decade as a keepsake. The truck had tremendous emotional value to KG. KG’s sister agreed. Soon after KG completed construction of the house for his sister, KG’s niece and her husband convinced KG’s sister to sign the house over to them for “estate planning purposes”. The niece and nephew quickly moved into the house and treated it as their own. KG was very upset, as he had built the house for his sister, not them. Then, one day, KG was driving by the house when he noticed that his niece and nephew had put his brother’s car outside and left it out in the rain with the windows open. KG was enraged. He went back to his construction warehouse, got into a bulldozer and drove to the house. When he got there, he began digging the shells off the driveway. The niece and nephew came running outside, with a friend, and tried to stop him. Their friend tried to stop KG as well. Not a good idea. KG drove the bulldozer at the friend and almost ran him over. Unbeknownst to KG, the friend was an off-duty Massachusetts State Trooper. The Trooper pulled his badge and tried to get KG to stop. KG again drove the bulldozer at him. After digging up the entire driveway and leaving a huge pile of shells blocking the entrance to the house, KG drove the bulldozer back the construction yard, only to be met by police officers. KG was charged criminally and the State Trooper reported the incident to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry revoked KG’s driver’s license upon determining that he posed a immediate threat to the public. The law allows the RMV to revoke a person’s license or right to operate if the RMV determines that the person poses an “immediate threat” to the lives or safety of the public. It is often used in cases where a person uses a motor vehicle to assault someone or to intentionally destroy property. We also see an “immediate threat” used by the RMV to revoke the driving privileges of elderly persons who in the eyes of the RMV are not competent or fit to drive.The revocation was permanent and meant that KG could no longer work without having to hire a full-time driver. It also meant that he could no longer take his kids to and from school or do any of his normal activities. It was disastrous. KG retained attorney Joshua Lewin to challenge his immediate threat license revocation. Attorney Lewin prepared the case and represented KG at a hearing at the RMV. Attorney Lewin presented a compelling case to a hearing officer. After the hearing, the Hearing Officer reinstated his license. KG returned to Nantucket – driving himself all the way home from Boston.

On June 1, 2010, AR was driving her SUV in Chelmsford. She attempted to pull into a parking space at a shopping plaza when suddenly her SUV jumped a curb, crashed through the plate glass window of a tanning salon, and ended up wholly inside the tanning salon. Fortunately for AR no one was hurt or even touched by her car and the flying debris.The police arrived on scene. AR was cited for Reckless Operation. The police reported the accident to the RMV and the RMV immediately suspended her license for “immediate threat”. Under Massachusetts Law when the Registry determines that someone poses an immediate threat to the safety of the public because of their operation of a motor vehicle the RMV can suspend the operator’s license until the operator can satisfy the RMV that they no longer pose a threat. AR retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin went to the accident scene and photographed the scene. An examination of the car took place but no defects could be found in the car that would explain the sudden acceleration of the car. Attorney Lewin pressed the argument with the District Attorney that what happened was an accident and not the result of any negligence on the part of AR. On Friday, October 29, 2010 AR and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lowell District Court. After some discussion an agreement was reached for a general continuance of the case for three months. That means that the case will simply sit on the court books for three months and then be dismissed. There was no plea bargain; there was no admission of guilt or wrongdoing; AR’s plea of not guilty remains in full force and effect and on January 28, 2011 the criminal charge will be dismissed. AR is now in a position where she can go to the RMV and seek reinstatement of her license.

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