February 2011 Archives

February 27, 2011

Boston Man Arrested for Second DUI Offense in Danvers


DUI pic.jpgA Boston man was arrested this past week on Massachusetts Drunk Driving and Related Charges for allegedly being "all over the road" in Danvers. The unidentified Boston man was arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 2nd Subsequent Offense; and Resisting Arrest.

According to the Danvers Police Department, the driver was pulled over in the area of Dyer Court in Danvers when he allegedly went through a stop sign. When police began questioning him, he allegedly became "combative", and consequently allegedly resisted the officers attempts to handcuff and arrest him.

2nd Offense Drunk Driving Charges in Massachusetts:
The potential penalties involved for a Second Subsequent DUI / OUI in Massachusetts involves possible imprisonment in the House of Corrections of 'not less than 60 days and up to 2.5 years'. A subsequent OUI conviction will also lead to an increased loss of the persons Massachusetts' Driver's License for 2 years, and the requirement of the installation of an Interlock Device on the person's vehicle in order to have his/her license reinstated.

Notwithstanding the above possible dispositions, a Second Offense DUI conviction also provides for an 'Alternative Disposition', which would include: probation; completion of an in-patient Alcohol-Treatment Program; Driver's License Suspension for 2 years; and installation of an Interlock Device on the vehicle when his/her license is reinstated.

Because of the various potential severe penalties involved if charged with a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Crime, you should Contact a Boston DUI / OUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Boston Man Arrested for Second DUI Offense in Danvers" »

February 26, 2011

Essex County Grand Jury Indicts Haverhill Man on Manslaughter and DUI Charges


Robert V. Bryant, 50, of Haverhill, was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury yesterday on various Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges in connection with a crash this past December just outside the Andover Massachusetts State Police barracks that resulted in the death of Cynthia Anne Ray, of Haverhill.

The Essex County Grand Jury returned criminal indictments against Bryant that charge him with Vehicular Homicide; OUI / DUI Liquor; Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; and Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death.

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Bryant allegedly struck Ray with his pickup truck as she left the Andover Massachusetts State Police barracks on Route 125. After allegedly striking Ray, Bryant drove off but was stopped on the highway several hundred yards away.

When arrested, Bryant refused the Breathalyzer Test and is currently serving the 180 day license suspension for his refusal.

Because of the several and severe consequences, persons charged with an OUI / DUI in Massachusetts should immediately Contact a Boston Drunk Driving Lawyer for a Free Consultation.

Continue reading "Essex County Grand Jury Indicts Haverhill Man on Manslaughter and DUI Charges" »

February 24, 2011

City Employee Charged with Drunk Driving in Attleboro


William T. O'Connell, 55, was arrested last weekend on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after he allegedly sideswiped a car in Attleboro. He was arraigned earlier this week on 1st Offense DUI / OUI and Drunken Driving to Endanger.

According to the Attleboro Police Department, O'Connell, who works as a truck driver for the City of Attleboro, sideswiped a car in the early afternoon hours this past Saturday. Following his arrest, O'Connell reportedly submitted to a Breathalyzer Test which yielded a reading a reading of 0.24%, three times the legal limit.

As with all Massachusetts DUI / OUI Charges, the penalties of a conviction on these charges can be devastating; and are increasingly more severe with each subsequent conviction.

For example, a 1st Offense DUI Charge in Massachusetts carries up to 2.5 years in jail; a loss of one's Driver's License for 1 year; and fines reaching up to $5,000.

A first-time DUI offender, however, may take advantage of a section 24 'alternative disposition if the person elects to change his plea to a Continuance Without a Finding (akin to a plea of 'no contest'). With the Alternative DUI / OUI Disposition, the defendant is typically placed on probation; ordered to complete a Drug-Alcohol Education Program; pay fines, fees and assessments in the area of $1,000; and loses his/her Massachusetts Driver's License for 45 to 90 days.

Because of the major potential penalties, including jail time, that could result from an OUI conviction, if charged with any drunk driving crimes in Massachusetts, you should immediately Contact a Boston OUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "City Employee Charged with Drunk Driving in Attleboro" »

February 23, 2011

Rockland Man Arrested on 4th Offense Drunk Driving Charges in Hingham


Charles J. Mitchell, 59, of Rockland, was arrested last Saturday on Massachusetts DUI Charges after police observed him driving through a stop sign. He has been charged Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Offense and Reckless Driving.

According to the Hingham Police Department, an off-duty police officer allegedly observed Charles J. Mitchell run through two stop signs in Hingham, one on Central Street and the other on South Street. The officer pulled over Mitchell's car and reportedly smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside.

Mitchell was asked to exit the car and submit to several Field Sobriety Tests, which, according to Hingham Police, he allegedly failed.

A conviction for a 4th Offense DUI / OUI in Massachusetts carries severe penalties, including imprisonment for not less than 2 years and up to 5 years; fines of up to $25,000; and a loss of one's Driver's License for 10 years.

Given the gravity of the consequences of a possible subsequent offense drunk driving conviction, persons charged with any Massachusetts Drunk Driving & Related Charges should immediately Contact a Boston DUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Rockland Man Arrested on 4th Offense Drunk Driving Charges in Hingham" »

February 22, 2011

Wilmington Driver Charged with DUI and Vehicular Homicide


Charles McNeil, 43, of Wilmington, was arraigned this morning in Woburn District Court on Massachusetts DUI Charges for allegedly striking and killing a pedestrian. McNeil was formally arraigned on Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Drugs, 2nd Offense; Motor Vehicle Homicide; and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Wilmington Police Department and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Charles McNeil was allagedly on anti-depressants when he was driving on Route 38 in Wilmington when he struck and killed Kim Forte. The accident occurred at the intersection of Main and Glen Roads this past Monday.

McNeil reportedly stopped at the crash scene, and when Wilmington Police Officers responded, he submitted to and allegedly failed two Field Sobriety Tests.

At his arraignment, McNeil was reported to have been coming from McLean Hospital where he had been released and prescribed anti-depressants for treatment of depression following the death of his 21 month old son, who past away from kidney failure.

Continue reading "Wilmington Driver Charged with DUI and Vehicular Homicide" »

February 20, 2011

Massachusetts Court Clarifies Law on License Suspensions for Repeat DUI Convictions


In a case recently decided by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals concerning the calculation of a driver's license suspension as a result of DUI / OUI Charges, the Registry of Motor Vehicle must calculate the suspension period dating back to the date of conviction, and not the date on which the RMV is notified of the conviction.

In the case of Commonwealth v. William DiGregorio, the defendant had been convicted of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 3rd Subsequent Offense in 2004 (in CT). He was previously convicted of drunk driving in Massachusetts in 1997, and in Connecticut in 2000. Massachusetts DUI laws provide for an 8 year loss of license upon a 3rd drunk driving conviction.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, however, did not learn of the 2004 OUI conviction until December 26, 2007, and then sent him a letter advising him that, effective January 5, 2008, his license would be suspended for 8 years, or until January 5, 2016.

The defendant, however, appealed the suspension, and the Appeals Court agreed with him that Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws provide that the length of suspension for a DUI conviction must be calculated from the date of conviction, irrespective of when the RMV discovers or learns about the conviction.

The confusion in this case arose from the reporting and notification process concerning the National Driver Register, which is a national database of drivers who have been convicted or had their licenses suspended for serious traffic violations, such as DUI / OUI. When an outside state or jurisdiction suspends someones license, the agency reports that persons names to the National Driver Register. The persons home state, however, typically only discovers the out of state suspension if a specific search of the person is actively pursued.

Given the complexity of Massachusetts OUI Laws, the severe penalties and lengthy license suspensions, persons charged with drunk driving should immediately Contact a Boston DUI Lawyer.

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February 19, 2011

Cape Cod Woman Arrested on 4th Drunk Driving Charge


Mary Messier, 34, of South Dennis, was arrested in the early morning hours Wednesday on Massachusetts DUI Charges for the fourth time. She was arraigned in Orleans District Court and held on $500 bail for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Offense.

According to the Dennis Police Department, Messier was speeding when she allegedly almost collided with a police cruiser who happened to be on patrol. The police officer reportedly pulled off road in order to avoid a collision, and then followed Messier, who allegedly continued to speed and then struck a curb before coming to a stop in a parking lot.

The Dennis Police officer who pulled Messier over for suspicion of OUI reported that she displayed "obvious signs of intoxication" and also asked her to perform Field Sobriety Tests (although it was not reported whether Messier 'failed' or 'passed' those tests).

Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws provide for enhanced penalties for persons convicted of subsequent DUI offenses. For a 4th Offense OUI / DUI Charge in Massachusetts, the law provides for a minimum-mandatory sentence of not less than 2 years, and up to 5 years in state prison.

Additionally, a person convicted of a 4th drunk driving charge also faces several thousands of dollars in fines, as well as a loss of his/her driver's license for 10 years.

Because of the severe penalties, those charged with a DUI / OUI should immediately consult with a competent Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

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February 18, 2011

Dorchester Man Charged with DUI Drugs in Braintree


Lee E. Harvey, 18, of Dorchester, was arrested earlier this week on Massachusetts DUI Charges in Braintree and charged with Operation Under the Influence of Drugs.

According to the Braintree Police Department, officers allegedly observed Harvey make an 'abrupt' turn into a parking lot. Probably because they saw a few young kids in the car and for no other reason despite not claiming that any motor vehicle violations were committed, officers then approached the car.

As they approached however, the police allege that one of the passengers, a Randolph man, got out of the car and fled. That man was later stopped a short distance later and he, along with another passenger and two Boston women, were questioned but not arrested for any crimes.

Harvey, however, was arrested after the Braintree Police Officers reportedly smelled a "strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside" the vehicle and because he "exhibited signs of possible marijuana use" and not having a valid driver's license.

Ever more interesting in this case, however, that despite not alleging that Harvey committing any motor vehicle infractions or that he drove his car in a manner that would suggest he was impaired, he was also charged with Operating Under the Influence of Drugs. The DUI Charge, notably, was added because a particular Braintree Police Officer has somehow been declared a "trained drug recognition evaluator" and formed the opinion that Harvey was Operating Under the Influence of Drugs.

...really?

Where Harvey refused to perform Field Sobriety Tests; where there are no allegations that he drove his vehicle in an impaired manner; where there is no other extrinsic evidence that any intoxicated impaired his ability to operate that car safely...I honestly don't see how the OUI charge will hold up...

Continue reading "Dorchester Man Charged with DUI Drugs in Braintree" »

February 17, 2011

Peabody Man Arrested on 6th Massachusetts DUI Charge


Donald Porter, 51, of Peabody, was arraigned yesterday morning in Salem District Court for his 6th Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charge. Following his arraignment on Operation of a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense, Porter was held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

According to Peabody Police and the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Donald Porter was allegedly driving his truck Tuesday evening and crashed into a snowbank at an intersection. The truck was then stuck on the median or island. When officers responded to the crash site and asked Porter what happened, he allegedly told them that he "took the corner too wide and went off the road."

Just as in every single OUI case and as they are trained to do, officers reported that Porter's speech was "slurred and thick" and that he smelled of alcohol.

Although he first denied having had anything to drink, prosecutors allege that Porter then admitted to having whiskey with dinner a half-hour prior to the crash. According to the Peabody Police Department, Porter alleged failed two out of three Field Sobriety Tests.

The penalty for DUI / OUI Fifth or Subsequent Offense in Massachusetts is severe. A drunk driving charge with so many prior convictions could result in a minimum-mandatory state prison sentence of not less than 2.5 years and up to 5 years. Additionally, the person faces a lifetime revocation of his driver's license, without the possibility of ever obtaining a hardship license.

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February 16, 2011

Taunton Man Arrested on Fourth Massachusetts OUI Charge


Jason Pepin, 38, was arraigned Monday in the Taunton District Court on Massachusetts OUI Charges, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Offense; Failure to Stop for Police; Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; and Resisting Arrest.

Pepin was arrested early Monday morning after he allegedly led Taunton Police Officer on a "slow-speed chase". According to the Taunton Police Department, Pepin drew police attention when an officer saw him allegedly make an illegal left turn while also going through a stop sign.

When the Taunton Police Officer activated his lights and tried to pull him over, Pepin allegedly continued for a short while until he finally stopped 'abruptly', which also forced the officer to slam his brakes and veer in order to avoid rear-ending Pepin. At that point, when the officer got out of car and began to approach, Pepin allegedly fled.

Pepin allegedly stopped and took off once more, and even allegedly ran several red lights before finally stopping in front of a bus terminal, but only after several other Taunton Police Officers responded and boxed in his car.

Ignoring officers' commands to roll down his window, officers ultimately broke Pepin's driver's side window. Still refusing to get out of the car, one officer got in the car to restrain him from behind, while other officers managed to turn the car's ignition off and forcefully remove Pepin.

As in typical fashion whenever anyone is charged with OUI / Drunk Driving, Taunton Police Officers allegedly 'detected a strong smell of alcohol' and Pepin exhibited 'slurred speech and red, glassy eyes.'

At his arraignment, the Bristol County District Attorney's Office reported to the judge that Pepin had a previous history with OUI arrest, including Taunton and Attleboro.

He is currently being held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

Continue reading "Taunton Man Arrested on Fourth Massachusetts OUI Charge" »

February 15, 2011

Massachusetts Law on DUI Checkpoints


For persons charged with DUI / Drunk Driving Charges after having gotten stopped at a DUI Checkpoint, Massachusetts law mandates that the DUI Checkpoint must be reasonable.

In other words, in cases where a defendant is charged with Operation of a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol challenges the stop and 'seizure' at the checkpoint as not having been constitutional, Massachusetts criminal law places the burden on the prosecutor to prove that the roadblock seizure was conducted in accordance with certain guidelines. If the prosecutor fails to meet his burden that the checkpoint was reasonable and constitutional, your case be ultimately be dismissed.

In the 1983 case of Commonwealth v. McGeoghegan, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that, in order for a roadblock to be permissible, the selection of cars stopped by not be arbitrary and assurance must be given that the procedure utilized by the police to conduct the DUI checkpoint is conducted pursuant to a plan devised by law enforcement. Additionally, the site selected for the DUI Checkpoint must a "problem area", in other words, where accidents or drunk driving arrests have previously occurred.

DUI Checkpoints in Massachusetts are constitutional, therefore, only if the police officers conducting the checkpoints did so in strict accordance with the established guidelines. Failure to strictly comply with the guidelines, for example, extending a roadblock without authorization, can lead to a finding of non-compliance and a successful challenge to your DUI arrest.

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February 13, 2011

Woman Charged with Massachusetts DUI Had Infant in Back Seat


Lyndsey Bessette, 27, of Dighton, was arrested in Rehoboth and charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes for allegedly driving recklessly with her infant daughter in the backseat. Bessette was arraigned this past Thursday on charge of 2nd Offense Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment of a Child.

According to the Rehoboth Police Department, a passing motorist called 911 to report that white SUV was driving erratically. When Rehoboth police officers located and pulled Bessette's SUV over, she allegedly told the officer she ad "too much" to drunk. She was immediately placed under arrest and her infant child, whom she had in the backseat, was taken to the police station until she was later picked up by Bessette's family.

Following her arraignment in the Taunton District Court, Bessette was released after posting $5,000 cash bail.

Given what has been reported, most people would assume that Lyndsey Bessette has absolutely no defense. However, based on the available details of this case, the only real damaging information against her appears to be the call from the concerned motorist and her alleged statement that she had "too much."

In my experience, however, when police officers memorialize what people allegedly stated, more often than not those statements are grossly taken out of context. In a vast majority of my cases, my own clients are often stunned to find out what the officers claim they allegedly said - and almost always, deny ever having said what is claimed.

Additionally, it's not clear whether there were any other factors suggesting that Bessette was 'intoxicated to a degree that impaired her ability to operate her motor vehicle safely.' 'Erratic operation', for instance, is but one of several factors to take into consideration; and there could be many explanations for the alleged 'erratic operation', particularly where the officers do not claim they observed a 'strong odor of alcohol'; that she was 'unsteady on her feet'; or exhibited 'slurred speech.'

The point, at the end of the day, is that a great many DUI / Drunk Driving Crimes are very beatable, despite how hopeless they may appear at first glance...

Continue reading "Woman Charged with Massachusetts DUI Had Infant in Back Seat" »

February 12, 2011

Massachusetts Supreme Court Considers Admissibility of Breathalyzer Tests in DUI Cases


breathalyzer test.jpgEarlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments in a case where the defendant challenged his Massachusetts Drunk Driving / DUI Crimes conviction. The issue now before the Court concerns DUI / Drunk cases where the government seeks to introduce evidence of the Breathalyzer Test and where the prosecutor fails to call as a witness the person who certified the Breathalyzer Test.

In the case now before the Court, the defendant, Zoanne Zeininger, had asserted that the Breathalyzer Test results in her case were inadmissible because there was no testimony demonstrating that the breathalyzer machine was certified. In her appeal following her conviction for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, she relied on an earlier Massachusetts Supreme Court decision in Commonwealth v. Barbeau, in which the Court ruled that a Breathalyzer Test machine must be proven to have been certified annually and have complied with periodic testing.

In the Zeininger case, that defendant challenges her DUI / Drunk Driving conviction because her Sixth Amendment Right to Confrontation was violated because the prosecution did not call as a witness the person who certified the machine; and consequently, she was deprived the opportunity to cross-examine that witness and the certification process.

In light of the recent case of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, I believe that Zeininger's DUI / Drunk Driving conviction will be overturned. Similar to what happened in previous gun or drug cases where the chemist or ballistician was not called, the Massachusetts Supreme Court will likely require the government to produce the person who certified the Breathalyzer Test if the prosecutor wants those results admitted to a jury.

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February 11, 2011

Somerville Man Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide for Drunk Driving Crash


DUI Arrest.jpgRichard Migliacci, 37, of Somerville, has been indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges in connection with the motorcycle crash in Somerville this past July that resulted in the death of his passenger, Sinead Lovette, 29, of Braintree.

Migliacci has been charged with Operation of a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol; Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; Leaving the Scene of An Accident After Causing Death; and Motor Vehicle Homicide.

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office alleges that, on July 9, 2010, Migliacci was riding his motorcycle on Route 28 in Somerville at a high rate of speed while he had Sinead Lovett as the rear seat passenger. Traveling at a high rate of speed, he is alleged to have gone through a red light, and while attempting to cut off an oil tanker, striking the median.

When Somerville Police Officer responded to the area, they reportedly found Lovett lying on the median and suffering from critical injuries. Somerville Police further alleged that Migliacci was seen walking his motorcycle aware from the area.

Middlesex County prosecutors further reported that Migliacci submitted to a Breathalyzer Test, which allegedly yielded a reading of almost three times the legal limit, which is 0.08%. It is unclear if Migliacci was also asked to perform any Field Sobriety Tests on scene.

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