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Negligent Operation

June, 2018

Ayer criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan recently represented a young man who was accused of causing a major motor vehicle crash, resulting in the Massachusetts State Police Collision Accident Reconstruction Team responding to the scene due to the serious injuries sustained by one of the passengers. Attorney Sullivan’s client was criminally charged and his license was immediately suspended (when the police believe there is reason, an officer can seek to have a suspects license suspended as an “immediate threat”).


Police were called after a two-car crash in Littleton where EMS personnel were also called to the scene. Witnesses told police that Attorney Sullivan’s client’s car was making a left turn into a local establishment in front of another car, which caused the two cars to collide. Witnesses believed that he did not have enough time to turn, and as a result “cut off” the other driver. The other car was found to have been speeding after reviewing the car’s diagnostic information, but the opinion of the reconstructionist was that the crash was the fault of Attorney Sullivan’s client.

Given the nature of the injuries, there were no field sobriety tests performed, no breath tests taken, and in any event there was no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved. Ayer criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan’s client was accused of driving to endanger, also called negligent operation of a motor vehicle.


Given the charges, if convicted after trial the punishment for the crime would be two and a half years in jail, although most first-time offenders receive a period of probation accompanied by fines, and possibly a further loss of license.

Collateral Punishment

The registry of motor vehicles often refuses to consider the reinstatement of a driver who has an immediate threat suspension until the case is entirely resolved. So, during this entire time Attorney Sullivan’s client was unable to drive a car in Massachusetts.


Attorney Sullivan represented his client at a clerk’s hearing, where the police and the assistant district attorney assigned to the case sought the charges to issue. Attorney Sullivan argued to the Clerk Magistrate that even though the standard to bring charges is much lower at a clerk’s hearing, the simple fact remained that all the police could show was that an accident occurred.

Attorney Sullivan pointed out, highlighting portions of the evidence the police had gathered during their investigation, but overlooked by the police, that there was a serious doubt as to whether the client was able to see the oncoming car. If he did not see the speeding car coming, his perception as to whether he had the ability to safely turn was significantly diminished. Even though the injuries were significant (but fortunately all passengers recovered successfully), the crash was a mere accident, not a criminal matter.


All criminal charges against Attorney Sullivan’s client were dropped before he was ever arraigned. The young man was able to avoid any exposure for these serious charges, then reinstated his license a week later, and has been happily (and safely) driving ever since.

If you or a loved one is charged with motor vehicle crime, especially if charges have not issued yet, contact Ayer criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan today to schedule your free consultation.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

Heather R.

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