Attorneys at Law, Burlington, VT

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Careless and Negligent Operation

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If you have been charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, you need to be aware that there are two different categories of negligent operation in Vermont. The separate offenses have different penalties and may impact your driving privileges in different ways.

Negligent Operation

23 VSA §1091(a) defines negligent operation as the operation of a motor vehicle in any manner that would meet the standard of ordinary negligence. Negligent operation is a misdemeanor and the penalties may depend on your driving history.

  • First offense: Fine of up to $1000, up to one year in jail, or both
  • Second or subsequent offense: Fine of up to $3000, up to two years in jail, or both

Grossly Negligent Operation

23 VSA §1091(b) defines grossly negligent operation as the operation of a motor vehicle in any manner that would be considered a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have used in that situation. Both the severity of the offense and the penalties imposed may depend on your driving history as well as if any person is injured or killed as a result of the offense.

  • First offense (Misdemeanor): Fine of up to $5,000, up to two years in jail, or both
  • Second or subsequent offense (Felony): Fine of up to $10,000, up to four years in prison, or both
  • Enhancement for injury or death (Felony): Fine of up to $15,000, up to 15 years in prison, or both
    • If more than one person is injured or killed, you may be charged separately for each person
    • You may also be charged separately with manslaughter if a death results from the offense

In addition to criminal penalties, the DMV may also decide to suspend or revoke your license. Driving while your license is suspended or revoked may result in further civil and criminal penalties.