Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

EAST BOSTON CHILD STRUCK AND KILLED BY MOTOR VEHICLE ON RANDOLPH STREET

An East Boston teen has died of injuries suffered after she was struck by a car crossing a Randolph street the night before, according to authorities. The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office has identified the deceased child as 15-year-old Laura Viera of East Boston.

The girl was transported to Milton Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday morning.

According to law-enforcement, she was struck on Tuesday night while crossing North Main Street in Randolph. The driver of the vehicle, which was a 2000 Chrysler, did not flee the scene but remained there to speak with police and cooperate with them.

Authorities are still investigating the accident and are considering whether or not the weather was a factor in the incident. It had begun snowing at the time of the crash.

According to law enforcement at this time, “it looks like an accident at this point”. Police also say that the car that had hit her had a green light at the time.

Boston Public School officials confirmed that Miss Viera was a BPS student and “resources are being provided to students, teachers, and families” for grief counseling. “Superintendent Tommy Chang and the entire BPS community express their deepest condolences to the family, friends and classmates of Laura Viera during this difficult time,” according to a statement released to the Boston Herald.

No criminal charges have been filed at this time.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Motor Vehicle CriminalCharges And Avoiding Them

Sometimes accidents simply happen. Sometimes there is really no one to point the omni-popular finger of blame at.

Sometimes, however, that finger gets pointed anyway.

We have discussed many times how and why that happens so often. Both attorney Ian Keefe and I have told you about some of our cases involving motor vehicle homicide. Sometimes, it appears as if it does not really matter if a driver is to blame. Sometimes criminal charges come anyway.

Years ago, the risk to the driver would be a civil lawsuit to establish Blame. Under today’s laws, mere negligence, or the allegation thereof, can be enough for criminal charges

“So, Sam, is there anything we can do to avoid criminal charges if it really wasn’t our fault?”

Sometimes, there is. There are a few steps you can take to avoid exposure in criminal court. Some of them, however, and risky and involve sacrificing your rights.

One very simple things you can do is to not incur additional criminal charges. In other words, do not jump out of your car blaming other people or throwing a tantrum. I know you are upset… maybe in panic. However, you have to remain as calm as possible.

Perhaps one of the worst mistakes that people make is to try to is escape the scene of the accident. You do not need me to tell you that doing that would be wrong. However, you might need me to remind you that doing so brings it’s own fairly heavy criminal charges

Attempting to flee the scene of an accident which causes either property damage, however slight, or bodily injury will generally also likely persuade law enforcement that you are criminally responsible for accident.

That opinion is likely not to stop there.

The fact you fled the scene will be a part of the prosecutor’s argument for high bail as well as the judge’s decision on bail.

Down the road at trial it will also be used my the prosecutor as evidence of “consciousness of guilt”.

The driver in this case stayed on the scene. That has, no doubt, help him remain criminal charge free… At least until now.

The tougher issue is that of talking to the poliCe about what happened.

As you know, my general advice is not to make statements until you have the services of experienced counsel. For the most part, that it by stands. However, in that case like this, it is worth trying to be helpful on the scene.

“So what do we do?”

Likely you would have access to a phone. Try to explain to the officer that, under the circumstances, you need to make a quick call to make sure that it is OK to explain. That may or may not Work.

The key thing, however, is once the officer stats treating you Miranda rights, that is the time to table any such conversation until you have an attorney

The one thing you do not want to do… is assume.

Don’t assume that nobody is going to be blaming this accident on you. You stand at the precipice of both criminal and civil liability.

Don’t assume, simply because you are such a “great person” that everything you say will be taken at face value and believed.

Don’t assume that the officer wants to “cut you a break” as much as he or she is saying.

Indeed, this is an emergency situation. It is important for the offset to find out what happened.

It is also true, though, that the police officer is a police officer and you are a driver engaged in a very serious traffic accident. If there was a fatality, you are the only person involved still able to be charged

And, even under the best of circumstances, there are people already to blame you.

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