Articles Posted in TrafficOffenses

GC, a twenty year old man from Andover, has accumulated 11 surchargeable over the last four years. Under Massachusetts Law if a person accumulates 12 surchargeable events over a five year period they are classified as an habitual traffic offender and they lose their license for four years with the right to apply for a hardship license after 1 year.

GC let his license expire (he “forgot” to renew it on the renewal date). After a snowstorm on January 29, 2013 GC removed the snow from the front windshield but only in front of the driver’s seat. The rest of the front windshield and the other windows and the roof remained encased in snow. A police officer pulled GC over and gave him a ticked for unlicensed operation (a criminal offense) and impeded operation (a civil violation). Both violations are surchargeable and if GC were found guilty/responsible of either violation he would lose his license for 4 years.

GC retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin ran GC’s driver record from the RMV and his criminal record (from the Mass.Department of Criminal Justice Information Services). The driver record showed that in fact GC’s license was not suspended or revoked but had expired; however, the driver record also showed that GC was in non renewal status because he owed excise tax. GC received a summons to appear in Lawrence District Court for an arraignment on April 25, 2013. Attorney Lewin met with the Assistant DA before court and explained the situation. The DA said she would agree to dismiss the unlicensed operation charge on the payment of $300 court costs (the criminal offense) but the DA wanted a responsible finding on the civil violation. The problem with a responsible finding on the civil violation is that it would have given GC 12 surchargeable offenses and he would lose his license for 4 years.

MM, age 50, of Wakefield, failed to pay his auto insurance premiums and his insurance company sent him a notice of insurance policy cancellation. The insurance company in turn notified the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Registry sent MM a notice that the registration to his motor vehicle was being revoked due to lack of insurance. MM ignored the notices and he ignored the fact that his vehicle was uninsured. MM had four prior convictions for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. One Saturday morning he was driving and got hit by another vehicle. The police were called to the scene of the accident and quickly discovered that MM’s vehicle was neither registered or insured. In his last case MM had received a substantial suspended sentence with probation and a fine and a loss of his driver’s license. MM was concerned that he would get a committed jail sentence for this his 5th offense. For this new case MM retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin spoke with the Assistant District Attorney. On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, Attorney Lewin and MM appeared in Malden District Court for a pre-trial hearing. Ultimately Attorney Lewin was able to negotiate a six month continuance without a finding with $500 in court costs. As a result of this disposition MM will not lose his driver’s license and in six months time the charge against him will be dismissed. MM was thrilled with the result.

RJ, a 54 year old man who drives for a living, was at risk of losing his license for three speeding tickets. He had gone to Haverhill (MA) District Court on his own and lost his appeal of a speeding ticket and he had paid a speeding ticket in California which was then reported to Massachusetts. He then got stopped on the Lowell Connector and was charged with going 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. The police were using a Lidar Device. If found responsible he would have lost his license. On October 5, 2011 RJ and Attorney Robert Lewin appeared in Lowell District Court for the hearing in front of the Clerk-Magistrate. RJ thought his case was hopeless. After a full hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate RJ was found NOT responsible. RJ and Attorney Lewin focused on RJ’s version of what had occurred and his testimony that he was going 53 mph. The Clerk-Magistrate found RJ’s version credible, the Lidar reading notwithstanding.

SN, a 23 year old Russian immigrant has a very heavy driving foot. Over the past three and a half years he has accumulated 11 “surchargeable events” on his driving record. Under Massachusetts Law any operator who accumulates 12 “surchargeable events” in a five year period becomes classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) and loses his license for 4 years. After one year there is eligibility to apply for a hardship license. SN was driving home on Route 93 North in Methuen. According to the police officer who pulled him over, SN was going 91 mph in a posted 65 mph zone and the zone was a construction zone (the fines get doubled). The officer cited SN for speeding in a construction zone and for failure to keep right. The officer had followed SN for some distance and the speed was estimated, clocked, and lidar checked. These two infractions would put SN into the 12 surchargeable event range and he would lose his license for 4 years. SN drove for a living, which is part of the reason he accumulated so many tickets. SN retained Attorney Robert Lewin. On September 20, 2011 SN and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lawrence District Court for the hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate. At the beginning of the hearing the police prosecutor (a Massachusetts State Trooper) quite inappropriately referred to SN’s driver record and stated to the Clerk that SN had a terrible record and that SN had just not learned. The prosecutor then stated that he did not have a copy of the citation. Attorney Lewin immediately asked that SN be found not responsible and the Clerk-Magistrate agreed and entered a finding of not responsible on the two violations on the ticket. At a hearing on a civil motor vehicle infraction citation the police must have a copy of the citation or report in order to go forward. In the absence of a citation or report the motorist is entitled to a finding of not responsible. The whole hearing played out in less than a minute and SN had no clue what happened until he and Attorney Lewin got outside the hearing room and left the Court and Attorney Lewin explained his good fortune.

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