EQ, a 43 year old woman from Methuen owned a car that was insured. The car needed some front end work and in February of 2017 EQ reported to her insurance company that her car had been struck by a hit and run driver. The insurance company sent an adjuster out to look at the car. The damage to the car did not appear to the adjuster to be consistent with the story being told by EQ. The insurance company hired an accident reconstruction expert who thoroughly examined the car including examining the paint on the car. The expert concluded that the front end of the car had been involved in a number scrapes on different times with different objects and that the front end work that needed to be done was unrelated to any accident. The insurance company reported their findings to the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau. The Methuen Police were called in and when confronted, EQ admitted that the accident did not happen as she reported it. The police then charged EQ with (1) Filing a False Motor Vehicle Insurance Claim and (2) Attempted Larceny Over $250.00. Both charges are felonies. EQ was arraigned on August 9, 2017 in Lawrence District Court and her case was continued for a pre-trial hearing to September 8, 2017.
EQ consulted with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover and retained him. The Insurance Fraud Bureau report was comprehensive and contained detailed photographs of the car and a detailed explanation of why EQ’s accident report was false.
EQ had no criminal record and a good job with a high-tech company. A felony conviction would dramatically effect her future. Attorney Lewin went over to the District Attorney’s Office at Lawrence District Court and met with the Assistant DA assigned to EQ’s case. The DA was willing to continue her case without a finding (CWOF). A continuance without a finding can be a good result as it avoids a conviction; but it does involve an admission that the evidence is sufficient to warrant a finding of guilt. Attorney Lewin advocated strenuously with the Assistant DA to consider a general continuance of the case. A general continuance of a criminal case is a disposition where, by agreement, the case is continued for a period of time and then dismissed. There is NO admission of guilt or wrongdoing. It is NOT a plea bargain.
On September 8, 2017 EQ and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court and the case was disposed of. Count 1 (the False Insurance Claim) was continued generally for 3 months to be dismissed on December 8, 2017. Count 2 (the Attempted Larceny) was outright dismissed. As a result of this disposition Attorney Lewin explained the following to EQ:
- Her plea of NOT guilty remains in full force and effect. Her plea never changed.
- There was NO guilty plea.
- There was NO “admission to facts sufficient for a finding of guilty”.
- There was NO finding of guilt.
- There was NO finding of “sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt”
- There is NO conviction.
In three months time (on December 8, 2017) EQ’s case will be dismissed in its entirety. If a CORI (Criminal Record) check is run on EQ after December 8, 2017 it will state that she has NO record.
A general continuance of a criminal charge followed by a dismissal is an especially favorable result to someone who is not a citizen as it is a non-deportable disposition.
EQ left the courthouse a very happy lady.