Juvenile Negligent Operation Charge Diverted

LS, a 17 year old high school student, took one of his family cars and decided to do a time trial on an Andover Street. He had three other kids in the car with him. Going around a corner at a high speed he lost control and crashed into a stone wall. Fortunately for LS no one was hurt and the other three kids in the car took off. A neighbor called the police and the Andover Police arrived shortly thereafter. LS was cited by the police for speeding and negligent operation. LS and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately told LS to file the citation at the Clerk-Magistrate’s at Lawrence Juvenile Court. The filing of the citation at the court preserved LS’s right to a Clerk-Magistrate Heating BEFORE a juvenile complaint was issued against him.

Negligent Operation is what is called a Chapter 90 Offense; Chapter 90 is the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle law. Juvenile’s, with no prior court involvement, are typically eligible for consideration into the Juvenile Diversion program. The Juvenile Diversion Program causes a criminal (juvenile) charge to be “diverted” out of the criminal justice system. As a matter of practice, however, Chapter 90 Offenses (such as Negligent Operation in this case) will not be diverted.

After being hired, Attorney Lewin went over to the Juvenile Court in Lawrence to review the court papers and get a copy of the police report. The Clerk-Magistrate informed Attorney Lewin that the police had not yet filed their paperwork at the Court. There is a little known rule called the “6-Day Rule”. The Motor Vehicle Law contains a provision that the police must file their paperwork at the court within 6 business days of the violation. When Attorney Lewin saw that the police had not filed their paperwork (on the fourth business day), Attorney Lewin called LS and his parents and told them we are doing to go silent and wait and see if the police file within the 6 business days. And wait they did. Finally on the 15th business day after the violation the police filed their paperwork at the Court. Attorney Lewin immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss the case for violation of the 6 day rule.

The case was set up for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on November 8, 2023. LS, it turns out, is a good student in school and has been involved in a community service project. Attorney Lewin prepared a Memorandum for the Clerk-Magistrate setting out all of LS’s good qualities. On November 8, 2023 LS, his parents, Attorney Lewin and the Police Prosecutor all appeared via Zoom for the hearing.

It was important for LS to NOT have a juvenile complaint be issued against him. Clerk-Magistrate’s do not rule on Motions to Dismiss and they typically do not divert motor vehicle cases; however, in this case both the Clerk-Magistrate and the Police prosecutor knew that Attorney Lewin had found the violation of the 6 day rule and that if the case did proceed with the issuance of a juvenile complaint that Attorney Lewin would be successful in getting the case dismissed. That provided the leverage to get the case diverted. Attorney Lewin argued strenuously for diversion.

At the conclusion of the hearing the Clerk-Magistrate announced that she would order the case referred to the Juvenile Diversion Program.

Attorney Lewin explained to LS and his parents the following:

  • NO juvenile complaint was issued against LS.
  • LS was NOT charged with any offense (including the speeding offense).
  • LS would not have to return to court and go before a Judge.
  • NO entry would be made in the CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) system.
  • LS would have NO criminal/juvenile record.
  • LS would NOT suffer any loss of his driver license.

LS is presently in the Juvenile Diversion Program; he is doing very well in the program; and he is on target to complete the program shorty. LS and his parents thanked Attorney Lewin for his hard work and attention to detail to reach a result that is generally not given with motor vehicle offenses.


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