On February 27, 2020 NH, a 34 year old maintenance technician, was working on a job site in North Andover. He got a call to report back in to the company headquarters in Haverhill. He got in his company van and headed up Route 125N to Industrial Way. As he proceeded up Industrial Way toward the entrance ramp to I-495 North he observed a black jeep behind him to his left. The road ahead was narrowed by cones from two lanes to one lane. The Jeep passed him on the left and then had to cut back sharply in front of NH to avoid striking the cones. NH had to slam on his brakes to avoid colliding with the Jeep which had pulled directly in front of NH. The Jeep then proceeded ahead and as the Jeep approached the split where the ramp to I-495N bears to the right it appeared as if the Jeep was going to proceed straight on Industrial Way. Suddenly and without signaling the Jeep pulled to the right onto the I-495 ramp again cutting in front of NH. Once again NH had to slam on his brakes to avoid striking the Jeep. The Jeep continued down the ramp onto I-495N travelling at about 20 mph. Once on I-495 NH then pulled to the left, passed the Jeep, and then after signaling pulled back to the right and exited I-495 at exit 50 to head to his company headquarters. Several hours later NH got a call from the State Police. The police asked NH if he had been involved in an incident with another vehicle. NH described to the State Trooper exactly what had happened with the Jeep. Some time later NH received a citation in the mail for Operating to Endanger the Lives and Safety of the Public. This is a criminal offense that carries up to 2 years in jail plus a mandatory loss of license.
The driver of the Jeep called the State Police and then went to the State Police Barracks and filed a report. She claimed that after she passed by NH on Industrial Way and pulled in front of him that NH was tailgating her dangerously as they proceeded down the ramp onto I-495N. She then claimed that NH “whipped around [her] on the second lane, pulled next to [her], and then moved into [her] lane in an obvious attempt to ram [her] into the cement barrier.” The police viewed this as a road rage incident.
NH was smart. He immediately took the citation and brought it to Haverhill District Court to request a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. NH then contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin of Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately obtained a copy of the police report and sat down with NH and reviewed the report in detail. Attorney Lewin found NH to be a very credible witness. Subsequently, the case was set down for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on September 22, 2020. Normally, most criminal lawyers will not have their clients testify at a Clerk-Magistrate hearing. The reason for this is that in the event the Clerk-Magistrate issues a criminal complaint and the case subsequently goes to trial the Defense wants to have a clean slate – that is, the Defense does not want the government to have the benefit of the accused’s (recorded) testimony from the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. In NH’s case, however, NH had already given a complete written statement to the State Police. It was a very detailed statement. As a result there was no downside to having NH testify at the hearing.
On September 22, 2020 the Clerk-Magistrate hearing proceeded via ZOOM. The State Trooper testified and reported what the lady had told him. Attorney Lewin had well prepared NH to testify. NH testified and was very solid in his testimony. Although the police report of what the lady driver had said was sufficient to issue a criminal complaint, the Clerk-Magistrate declined to issue the complaint. The Clerk-Magistrate said he would hold the papers for six months and then dismiss the application for criminal complaint.
This was a significant win for NH.
- He was not charged with a crime
- No criminal complaint was issued against him
- He did not have to return to court.
- No entry was made on his criminal record.
NH left the ZOOM courtroom a happy man.