Not at fault, go to jail anyway

Police in Quincy, Massachusetts are after the driver who was not at fault in a fatal accident. Boston Globe reports.

He was driving within the speed limit, through a green light, and hit a pedestrian crossing against the light. It was dark and the pedestrian was wearing dark clothes. Police in Massachusetts don’t normally charge the driver in such cases.

They’re going after him because leaving the scene of a fatal accident has a mandatory minimum one year jail sentence even if you are not at fault. MGL 90-24(a½)(2). The only defense is if you didn’t know you hurt somebody. Police think the driver did know.

We can only speculate about why he fled the scene.

Some hit-and-run drivers are drunk. Being legally drunk automatically converts an accidental death into a homicide. MGL 90-24G(b). If you just happened to have a .08% BAC when somebody walked in front of you, it’s a short jail sentence plus 15 year license suspension. If you were at fault, add a felony and a few years in prison.

Some people drive away because they don’t have a license and fear arrest for that. Many of those are illegal immigrants who can’t get licenses. California’s new policy to give them licenses is not just liberal politics at work. It aims to solve a problem with hit-and-runs in LA.

Being poor is also a major cause of unlicensed driving. Leave parking tickets unpaid and you will lose your license forever. Uncollected revenue is worse than murder in the eyes of the RMV.

Most license suspensions are for owing money, not for bad driving. It could be an unpaid ticket, income tax, or a growing pile of fees. In New Hampshire, they’ll revoke your license if you don’t pay the rescue fee after getting hurt or lost in the White Mountains.

Once you pay off your debts, you owe an extra fee to reinstate your license.

Rich people can afford fees, fines, taxes, and surcharges. They can afford the lawyers to beat tickets. They can afford reinstatement fees if they do something really bad and can’t pay off the system. They don’t get caught in the hole where they can’t afford to buy back their license, still need to drive, and collect more tickets for driving without a license.

Or maybe he felt a bump, didn’t notice the dark body on the dark pavement, and drove away.

The opinions expressed in belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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