On September 17, 2021 LP, a 70 year old woman, was driving in Medfield. She came to an intersection and stopped. There was a pedestrian cross walk in front of her. She looked to her right and saw two girls standing on the sidewalk. According to the Medfield Police Department report the girls stated they were waiting at the crosswalk to go across the street. The girls stated LP’s car was stopped at the crosswalk and the driver waived the girls to go ahead to cross the street. The girls stated that as they walked in front of the car they heard the engine start up and the car pulled ahead, striking one of the girls so that she fell onto the hood of the car. The girls then said the driver shrugged her shoulders and drove away. The girls got the plate number of the car.
The police located the car just down the street; it was parked. LP was in the driver’s seat. LP told the police that she did not strike either of the girls. LP said she saw the girls to her right and they were just standing there. LP looked to her left to see if she could pull into the traffic. LP wanted to make a right turn at the intersection. A truck driver approaching from her left waived LP out. LP then proceeded ahead. LP then saw one of the girls in front of her car and immediately hit the brake. LP denied striking the girl.
The police gave LP a citation for leaving the scene after causing personal injury. LP had a relationship with a large Boston Law firm that was doing some civil law work for her. The firm referred LP to Attorney Robert Lewin of Andover. LP consulted with and hired Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin immediately advised LP to take the citation and request a clerk-magistrate hearing at Dedham District Court. LP did that. Attorney Lewin then contacted LP’s insurance company to see if any personal injury claim had been filed against LP by the girl who claimed to have been hit by LP. Attorney Lewin learned from her insurance company that no claim had been filed. Attorney Lewin also immediately obtained the police reports. Attorney Lewin investigated to see if there were any video cameras that may have captured this incident; there were not.
The problem with the charge of leaving the scene after causing personal injury is that there is a mandatory 1 year loss of license. In addition, there is a non mandatory 6 month minimum jail sentence. And the statute prohibits the charge from being continued without a finding. If at all possible, it is critical to try to get these cases resolved at a Clerk-Magistrate hearing without a criminal complaint being issued.
Attorney Lewin ran LP’s criminal record and her driver history. Both were clean. Attorney Lewin spoke with the police prosecutor and advocated for no criminal complaint to be issued at the hearing.
On February 16, 2022 Attorney Lewin and LP appeared at Dedham District Court for the hearing. Attorney Lewin informed the Clerk-Magistrate that LP had no criminal record and no driver record. More importantly, Attorney Lewin argued to the Clerk-Magistrate that the charge of leaving the scene after causing personal injury requires evidence and proof that there was a personal injury. No personal injury claim had ever been filed and there was a question as to whether or not the girl had actually suffered any injury. Attorney Lewin advocated for the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue a criminal complaint against LP
The Clerk-Magistrate ordered that the hearing would be continued for six months to August 17, 2022 and that if LP stayed out of trouble, then on that date the Application for Criminal Complaint would be dismissed and LP would not be charged.
On August 17, 2022 the Application for Criminal Complaint was dismissed and LP was not charged.
Attorney Lewin explained to LP the following.
- NO criminal complaint was issued against LP.
- LP was NOT charged with any criminal offense.
- LP did not have to return to court and go in front of a judge.
- NO entry would be made in the CORI (criminal record) system.
- NO entry would be made on LP’s driver record at the Registry.
- LP would NOT lose her license.
Needless to say, LP thanked Attorney Lewin and was a happy client.