Don’t Let Cabin Fever From COVID-19 Create Motor Vehicle Legal Trouble

A friend of mine and I were recently talking about our hope that the economy can be re-opened again – and soon.  One of the things he said to me was, “Yeah – I haven’t been able to hit the open road and hit the gas for a while.”  As a Massachusetts lawyer who represents clients who have been charged with, among other things,  motor vehicle offenses, I’m sure you can imagine what my response was.

Business shut-downs, stay-at-home orders, quarantines, and working remotely from home have all combined to create a kind of “mass cabin fever”.  That term, of course, originated from people being trapped in cabins during severe winter snowstorms.  Even under harsh winter conditions, people want to get outside after a few days.  But here it is, Memorial Day weekend — and we haven’t all been stuck inside for just a few days — it’s been a few months.  So the desire to hit the road is understandable – but if it’s done in a reckless, dangerous or illegal way, legal trouble could likely follow.  Criminal offenses for such operation include:

  • Operating After License Suspension or License Revocation
  • Operating After License Suspension or License Revocation For Operating Under The Influence
  • Attaching Plates
  • Falsifying or using a False Motor Vehicle Document
  • Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
  • Road Racing
  • Use of A Vehicle Without Authority
  • Leaving The Scene Of An Accident
  • Refusal To Obey A Police Officer
  • Operating To Endanger
  • Causing Serious Bodily Injury While OUI

And most of the above offenses would be the least of your troubles if you operate recklessly:  Imagine if speeding or driving recklessly were to result in injury to another person.  At that point, civil lawsuits enter the picture, and depending on the injuries, the money damages can be very high.

In addition to these Massachusetts criminal motor vehicle offenses, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles can take civil action against a driver whose driving record, with what is known as an “Immediate Threat Suspension”.  This occurs when a driver has been cited by a police officer for operating a motor vehicle in such a dangerous manner that the officer believes that the operator’s continued operation of a motor vehicle poses an immediate threat to public safety.  In that event, the operator is required to appear before the Massachusetts Board of Appeals.

My suggestion, as a Massachusetts motor vehicle suspension lawyer:  Save the lead foot for the soccer field.  Be smart and drive safely.

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