At about 10:30 p.m. police officers in Massachusetts saw what they believed was someone drinking beer in a car in Brockton. The car was pulled over and the driver then took off, speeding all the way to Quincy. The suspect’s car hit a tree near a garage and the driver and one of three passengers were arrested. The driver, Joseph Cooper was charged with operating to endanger, assault with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder. It is alleged that he tried to ram a police cruiser head on. The driver was also operating with a suspended license. One of the passengers was charged with resisting arrest. The other two escaped on foot.
Here is an interesting question. What if anything are the two men who escaped criminally responsibly for? Unless one or both of them were drinking the beer the answer is probably nothing. There is no legal way to charge them with any criminal activity given the facts of this article. While the prosecution typically charges people who accompany the principles as joint venturers there is nothing here suggestive of criminal behavior on their parts. So why did they run? Well, perhaps they had outstanding warrants. Maybe they did not want to get charged with “resisting arrest” as did the passenger. Here is another point. Why was the passenger being arrested? It is difficult to hold any passenger accountable for the conduct of a driver absent some evidence that he or she shared the same criminal intent, desired the same result and stood ready, willing and able to assist in the crime.
Our office has been defending motor vehicle crimes for over twenty years. On many occasions we have secured acquittals for people accused of these crimes whether or not they were charged as principles or joint venturers. If you have been charged with a crime in Massachusetts call us at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.