In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed the defendant’s challenge to the lawfulness of the stop of his car based on an anonymous caller’s 911 call to the police. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, arguing that the police did not have reliable information to seize him for suspected drunk driving. He argued that the subsequent field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed, should have been suppressed as a result of the unlawful stop. The appeals court affirmed his conviction and held that the government had sufficient proven that basis of knowledge and the veracity of the anonymous caller.
The Massachusetts State Police announced that troopers will be conducting a DUI / OUI Sobriety Checkpoint at “an undisclosed location” in Bristol County on the evening of December 12, 2014. Bristol County includes the towns of Dartmouth; Easton; Mansfield; North Attleborough; Norton; Raynham; Rehoboth; Seekonk; Swansea; and Westport, et.al.
What are your rights when it comes to a OUI / DUI roadblock or, as the police like to call them, ‘sobriety checkpoints’? Under Massachusetts law, the police are entitled to conduct drunk driving roadblocks, but they must abide by certain rules and procedures… Continue reading →
In a recent unpublished decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the conviction of a man who was found guilty of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol because his lawyer failed to introduce to the jury evidence that he had an attention deficit disorder and a learning disability. The Appeals Court agreed that his lawyer failing to introduce this evidence in his defense prejudiced him at trial, as the evidence would have explained to the jury why the defendant was not able to satisfactorily perform field sobriety tests when he was pulled over.
At trial, the Massachusetts State Police Trooper testified that after he pulled the defendant over for speeding at 94 miles per hour, he administered several field sobriety tests, and that the defendant failed them all. As a result, the trooper concluded that he was operating while under the influence of alcohol and placed him under arrest. The defendant also submitted to a breathalyzer test which yielded a reading of 0.06%.
A Massachusetts State Police Trooper was indicted this past week by a Plymouth County Grand Jury in connection with an accident last year that resulted in the death of Susan Macchi and her daughter, Juliet Macchi, 23. The trooper was charged with vehicular homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation, and carrying a firearm while intoxicated.
A trooper since 2012, he is alleged to have struck the victims car on in Plymouth and to have been driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.19% on his way home after leaving a party. The presumptive ‘limit’ in Massachusetts is 0.08%. Although there weren’t any witnesses to the accident, Plymouth police have reportedly alleged that the trooper’s car crossed into the oncoming lane.
Vehicular Homicide by OUI / DUI in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment to state prison for a minimum of 2.5 and a maximum of up to 15 years.
Like all OUI / DUI charges, in order to be convicted of this offense the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant operated the vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. This means that the defendant was intoxicated to such a degree by the alcohol or substance that his ability to operated the vehicle safely was impaired.
Additionally, the prosecutor must also prove that the operation occurred on a public way; that the defendant operated in a negligent manner; and caused the death of another person as a result.
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts DUI / OUI Charges.
Contact a Boston DUI / OUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.
A Milford, Massachusetts woman was arrested for Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges when her minivan crashed into a quarry in Milford with her three children in the vehicle.
All three children were able to escape from the vehicle, which was partially submerged in the quarry. One of the children was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. One of the two other children sustained minor injuries while the third was not hurt.
The woman was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol; Failure to Stop; and Child Endangerment while OUI / DUI.
The Massachusetts drunk driving crime of Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child who is 14 years of age or younger the car.
A conviction for a first offense of Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI is punishable with 90 days to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections; fines of up to $5,000; and a suspension of the person’s driver’s license for 1 year. A subsequent conviction for this offense could result in a jail sentence of 6 months to 2.5 years in the house of corrections or a state prison sentence of 3-5 years; along with a license suspension of 3 years.
Because the ‘elements’, i.e., what the government would have to prove, for this crime includes the added factor of having a passenger in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or younger, a person may be prosecuted for both child endangerment while operating under the influence as well as OUI / DUI.
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in defending persons charged with various Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes and is available 24/7 for free consultation.
To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.
In the recent decision of Commonwealth v. Joseph J. Canty, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that in cases where a defendant is charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, a police officer may not offer an opinion at trial as to whether the driver’s ability was diminished by the consumption of alcohol or that he was probably impaired by the consumption of alcohol.
In this case, the defendant was pulled over for erratic driving. The police officer testified at trial that the defendant breath smelled of alcohol and that he noticed his eyes were bloodshot. The officer also testified that the defendant admitted to having consumed four beer a few hours earlier. After failing several field sobriety tests, the defendant was arrested.
With this background, the police officer offered the opinion at trial that the defendant’s ability to safely operate the vehicle was diminished and that he was probably impaired.
In evaluating the officer’s testimony at trial, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that although a police officer may properly testify that the driver “appeared intoxicated”, it was NOT permissible for the officer to offer an opinion as to the effect of any intoxication on the defendant’s ability to operate the vehicle. The court explained that the officer’s testimony in this regard touched upon the rule that no lay witness may offer an opinion as to a defendant’s guilt or innocence.
The court further explained that testimony as to whether the defendant was probably under the influence is perilously close to an opinion as to whether the defendant is guilty, an issue for the jury to decide. The court held that there must be a balance in a witnesses testimony. Specifically, a police witness would be permitted to offer an opinion concerning the driver’s level of intoxication but may not offer an opinion whether the driver’s consumption of alcohol had diminished his ability to operating the vehicle safely.
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A 21 year old Boston woman was charged with several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including Vehicular Homicide by Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, in connection with a fatal hit and run that took the life of a 63 year old woman.
According to the Boston Police Department, the defendant, who is from Dorchester, allegedly hit the woman near the intersection of Washington and Northampton Streets. The defendant is alleged to have then fled the scene. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office further alleges that the defendant was not wearing glasses at the time of the accident, which is apparently a condition of her driver’s license restriction.
The defendant was further charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
Vehicular Homicide by OUI / DUI in Massachusetts is the negligent and reckless operation of a motor vehicle while under the of alcohol or drugs and which results in the death of another. The punishment upon conviction for vehicular homicide by operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a minimum sentence of 2.5 years and up to 15 years in state prison; and a minimum of 1 year and up to 2.5 years in the house of corrections.
Meanwhile, the motor vehicle crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death punishes those who leave the scene of an accident where death resulted and without leaving their identity, address and registration information.
Leaving the scene of an accident after causing death is punishable by not less than 1 year and up to 2.5 years in the house of corrections; or not less than 2.5 years and up to 10 years in state prison.
Obviously, the purpose of this statute is to identify those operators who were involved in an accident, particularly those resulting in the death of another person. Massachusetts law imposes an active duty on every driver to stop at the scene of an accident and offer their identifying and vehicle information.
To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500 to speak with Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis directly.
A man from South Yarmouth was charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following a crash in Hingham, including Operating Under the Influence of Drug and Child Endangerment by OUI, Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Possession of a Class B Substance.
According to the Hingham Police Department, the driver crashed his car at a Hingham intersection, striking the electrical box at the intersection on Route 53. Along with a front seat passenger in the car, the driver had his 2 month old infant in the back with the car seat unsecured.
Hingham Police allege that the driver was suspected to have been under the influence of drugs and noticed injection marks on his arms. The driver alleged admitted that he had injected suboxone earlier that day. Officers also allegedly found prescription medication and a used hypodermic needle under the driver’s seat and in the man’s pockets.
The Massachusetts OUI / DUI Crime of Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Drugs was enacted several years ago with the passing of “Melanie’s Law”, which essentially criminalized the operation of a vehicle with a child passenger while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A person convicted of Child Endangerment While DUI / OUI as a first offender may be committed to the house of corrections for a minimum of 90 days and up to 2.5 years; as well as face a mandatory license suspension for 1 year.
A second offender will face 3-5 years in state prison; or 6 months to 2.5 years in the house of corrections; along with a mandatory driver’s license suspension of 3 years.
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.
To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Boston OUI / DUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.
As far as Massachusetts Drunk Driving trials go, prosecutors are not able to introduce to a jury evidence that the driver refused to perform any field sobriety tests. But what about the scenario where the driver initially agreed to perform field sobriety tests and then decided to stop?
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently addressed these circumstances in the case of Commonwealth v. Brown.
In that case, the defendant went to trial on the charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, second offense. At trial, the prosecutor was permitted to introduce evidence that, although the driver initially agreed to perform field sobriety tests, during one of the tests he stated “I can’t do this” and refused to perform any additional tests.
These circumstances are a classic illustration of ‘governmental compulsion’ and the reasons why, in most cases, evidence of a refusal may not be introduced as evidence against the defendant. In other words, there is compulsion when the defendant is forced to choose between two alternatives, both of which are capable of producing evidence against him and therefore putting him in a ‘catch-22′ situation: either take the test and potentially produce incriminating evidence against yourself; or refuse the test and have adverse testimonial evidence used against you at trial.
On this appeal, the defendant argued that because he expressly stated “I can’t do this”, he affirmatively exercised his right to refuse any further tests and that it was error for the trial judge to permit the prosecution to introduce this refusal against him at trial.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected this defendant’s appeal because the question in this case turned on the issue of whether there was government compulsion in the first place. Once the defendant agreed to take the field sobriety tests, any expressions of difficulty or inability to perform are expressions not the products of ‘compulsion’ and are therefore admissible against him.
Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts DUI / OUI Charges and Criminal Appeals.
To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.
A Stoneham was arrested for Massachusetts Drunk Driving Violations on the Massachusetts Turnpike with his two children in the vehicle.
The defendant was arraigned in Dudley District Court on Monday and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI.
According to the Massachusetts State Police, troopers received a call to be on the lookout for an alleged drunk driver who had two children in the car with him. Contemporaneous with the call, the Sturbridge Police Department had also reportedly called the Massachusetts State Police to inform them that the defendant was suspected of being involved in a “domestic dispute”.
When state troopers approached the vehicle, which had pulled over into a rest area, the driver was allegedly unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.
At his arraignment, it was disclosed that the driver also had a previous conviction for vehicular homicide.
The Massachusetts drunk driving crime of Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs was passed in 2005 under “Melanie’s Law”, and punishes those who operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child 14 years of age or younger in the vehicle.
A conviction for a first offense of Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI punishes those with not less than 90 days and up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections; while a subsequent offender may be punished by not less than 6 months and up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections.
Because they are technically “separate” crimes and require different ‘elements’ to sustain a conviction, under the law, a person may be charged with OUI / DUI and Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI.
To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.