May 2011 Archives

May 30, 2011

Massachusetts State Trooper Struck by Drunk Driver


A Massachusetts State Police Trooper, Brian Quigley, was allegedly hit by a drunk driver traveling in the opposite lane on Morrissey Boulevard in Boston this past weekend. The driver of the car Weymouth resident Cara R. Dellabarba, 28, was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Personal Injury.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Trooper Brian Quigley was traveling north on Morrissey Boulevard when a car allegedly operated by Cara R. Dellabarba came at him on the wrong side of the street. Although the Trooper reportedly turned on his wig wag lights, Dellabarba swerved her car in the direction of the trooper and ultimately struck his car.

After the accident, Cara Dellabarba reportedly submitted to Field Sobriety Tests, which she allegedly failed.

Although Cara Dellabarba was not injured in the crash, Trooper Quigley reportedly suffered lower body injuries and was taken to Boston Medical Center to be treated.

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May 25, 2011

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules on Breathalyzer Evidence in DUI Cases


breathalyzer.jpgThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that technicians who performed the certification tests on Breathalyzer Test Machines are not needed to testify at trial in Massachusetts Drunk Driving Cases. In the case of Commonwealth v. Zoanne Zeininger, the state's highest court held that certification tests of Breathalyzer Machines are admissible in evidence as business records, and are not testimonial statements triggering the 6th Amendment Right of Confrontation.

Zoanne Zeininger was arrested in 2007 for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol. At the station, Zeininger submitted to an Alcohol Breath Test and gave two readings, each registering 0.10%. She was convicted after trial and appealed the conviction claiming that her constitutional rights were violated as to the evidence of the Breathalyzer Test being admitted into evidence without the live testimony of the technician who performed the certification tests on the machine.

The basis for Zeininger's argument was, in large part, based on the alleged violation of her 6th Amendment Right to Confront the witnesses against her. In support, Zeininger claimed pointed to the cases of Crawford v. Washington and Melendez-Diaz, which records of testimonial statements require live testimony of the proponent of such statement to satisfy the defendant's Right of Confrontation. In Melendez-Diaz, for example, the United States Supreme Court held that certificate of drug analyses, prepared by chemists when testing whether a particular item is a controlled substance, are testimonial in nature and, in order to be admissible, the drug lab experts should be called to testify.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court, however, distinguished Breathalyzer Tests from drug analyses because the certification of breathalyzer tests were prepared in the regular course of equipment maintenance and are, as the court held, non-testimonial records.

Accordingly, whereas drug certifications were prepared in the process of a prosecution, certifications for Breathalyzer machines are essentially internal records prepared to guarantee the accuracy and standardization of breathalyzer testing.

In other words, now going forward in all Massachusetts DUI / OUI Cases, certifications of breathalyzer records are "non-testimonial, and their admission without the live testimony of the technician who prepared them did not violate the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment."

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May 24, 2011

Braintree Police Arrest Quincy Man Driving U-Haul for DUI Drugs


Anthony M. Mahoney, 25, of Quincy, was arrested Monday night in Braintree on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges for allegedly driving a U-Haul truck while high on drugs. He was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Drugs.

According to the Braintree Police Department, a driver called police on Monday night and complained that he was nearly forced off the road by a man driving a U-Haul truck. Officers responded to the area located the U-Haul truck in the area of Elm and Middle Streets in Braintree.

The driver, according to Braintree Police, had signs of 'impaired operation', but the officers did not detect any smell of alcohol. The officers then had Anthony Mahoney exit his vehicle to perform Field Sobriety Tests, and while doing so, officers searched the U-Haul. As a result of the search, police allegedly found residue of a white substance on the center console of the truck, as well as the corner of a torn baggie, which police allege is "commonly used to package narcotics".

Anthony Mahoney was placed under arrest for OUI / DUI Drugs, and once at the station, was reportedly asked to perform additional Field Sobriety Tests.

What strikes me as most disturbing in this case is, what prompted the Braintree Police Officers to initiate a search of the U-Haul? If what has been reported is correct, Anthony Mahoney was not "arrested" until after the discovery of the alleged white powder. Without any other 'reasonable suspicion' that Mahoney had committed a crime, there was no justification for them to enter a search the vehicle prior to that time...

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May 19, 2011

Abington Woman Arrested for Drunk Driving Hit & Run Arraigned in Brockton District Court


Keryn LeBlanc, 46, of Abington, was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following an alleged hit and run accident late Tuesday evening. LeBlanc was arraigned in Brockton District Court on DUI charges including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.

According to the Abington Police Department, Keryn LeBlanc was allegedly driving in the area of the Abington Town House. It appears that no one witnessed the alleged accident, and only that LeBlanc was located in her car a few hundred yards down the road, with the car having a front end and tire damage. With regards to the other two cars, Abington Police report that no one was in them at the time.

Abington Police further allege that Keryn Leblanc submitted to a Breathalyzer Test, which yielded a reading of 0.27%, more than 3 times the legal limit of 0.08%.

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May 18, 2011

Fitchburg Man Arraigned on DUI Charges and for Leaving Crash with Baby


franklin.jpgLance Franklin, 31, of Fitchburg, was arraigned this past Monday in Fitchburg District Court on several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges in connection with the May 10 accident in which he allegedly left the scene with his 15 month old baby. Franklin has been charged with several DUI Law Violations, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Child Endangerment While Driving Under the Influence, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Serious Injury.

According to the Fitchburg Police Department, Lance Franklin stole the car belonging to an 83 year old woman from Leominster on May 10. On that date, the vehicle was involving an accident when it struck a retaining wall. Police believe that Franklin was driving the car, in which he also had his wife, another man, as well as his 15 month old son.

Fitchburg Police allege that following the crash, Lance Franklin took his son and left the scene of the accident, but left his wife and the other man at the crash site. The baby was reported taken to the home of a relative, who later took the child to Leominster Hospital to be treated.

Police Officers reportedly tried to locate Lance Franklin for several days following the crash, but were only able to locate him this past weekend after receiving a tip that he was back home. Fitchburg Police ultimately arrested Franklin after he allegedly tried to flee from the back of his house.

The Massachusetts DUI / OUI Crime of Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol makes it a crime to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs while also having a child 14 years of age or younger in the car. A conviction for this DUI crime is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for not less than 90 days and for up to 2.5 years for a first time offender; and for not less than 3 years and up to 5 years in state prison for a subsequent offender.

Following his arraignment on Fitchburg District Court on these several DUI / OUI Charges, Lance Franklin was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail.

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May 17, 2011

Worcester Man Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide After Crashing Into Home


dhakal.jpgHari Dhakal, 39, of Worcester, has been charged with several Massachusetts Driving Charges after he allegedly crashed his SUV into a home. He is summonsed to be arraigned in Worcester District Court on charges including Motor Vehicle Homicide and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to Worcester Police, the occupant of home, Rosemary Turner, was struck when Dhakal's car allegedly crashed into her house and pinned under the car. Another occupant who was near the doorway was also struck by the impact. She was freed from the crash 45 minutes later and taken to be treated at Umass Medical Center, where she died.

Dhakal reportedly claimed that as he was traveling, his brakes to his Nissan Pathfinder failed. Worcester Police, however, claim that, after physical and mechanical inspection of the vehicle, as well as review of the car's "black box" with the assistance of the manufacturer, there was no evidence to support that the brakes had failed.

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May 16, 2011

Amesbury Woman Charged with 2nd DUI Following Deadly Burlington Crash


Nicole Parziale, 39, of Amesbury, was charge with several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following a crash in Burlington this weekend that resulted in four people injured and a Bedford man dead. At this time, she has been charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 2nd Subsequent Offense and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Nicole Parziale was allegedly driving on I-95 North when she crossed over several lanes of traffic and struck another car. From the collision, the other car was sent into the guard rail in the left lane. The driver of that car, Kayla E. Trenholm and her passenger, David N. Torrey, were taken to a Winchester Hospital for minor injuries.

Meanwhile, Nicole Parziale and the passengers in her car, Glenn Robichaud and Denis J. Splain, were also taken to a Burlington Hospital for their injuries. Glenn Robichaud, however, later succumbed to his injuries.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, additional DUI / OUI Charges may be pending against Nicole Parziale, including Vehicular Homicide and/or Manslaughter While Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol.

As charged, however, Parziale is facing at least 60 days and up to 2.5 years imprisonment for the DUI 2nd Offense charge, as well as a loss of her Driver's License for 2 years and installation of an Interlock Device once her license is reinstated.

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May 15, 2011

Milton Man Arrested for DUI Following Braintree Crash


Sam J. Mazur-McDonnell, of Milton, was arrested last Wednesday on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following an accident in Braintree. He has been arraigned in Quincy District Court on DUI charges including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.

According to the Braintree Police Department, Sam J. Mazur-McDonnell allegedly struck another car at the intersection of Granite and Pond Streets. The car that was struck, a Chevrolet Tahoe, was in the intersection but the other car was not in the area. Braintree Police were then directed by a witness to a nearby residential condominium complex, where they allegedly located Mazur-McDonnell.

It appears, however, that there was a question whether Mazur-McDonnell was actually the operator of the car at the time of the crash. If so, there may be a legitimate defense as to whether the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office can prove the DUI / OUI Charges against him. Braintree Police report, however, that statements by two 'female companions', from Braintree and Jamaica Plain, suggested that Mazur-McDonnell was the driver.

In all criminal cases, despite whatever criminal charges are issued, it is the prosecutions burden of proving that the identification of the defendant, beyond a reasonable doubt, as the perpetrator of the specified crime. In this regard, Mazur-McDonnell may have an Identification Defense should this case go to trial.

Additionally, it is also unclear whether there is any evidence that Mazur-McDonnell actually operated the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In contesting these Massachusetts DUI / OUI Charges, that there was an accident, for example, without any additional evidence of intoxication, such as Field Sobriety Tests and/or an Alcohol Breath Test, could help strengthen his defense.

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May 10, 2011

Weymouth Man Indicted for Motor Vehicle Homicide in Dedham Superior Court


Matthew Murray, 25, of Weymouth, was arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham this week on several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges stemming from the February 13, 2011, incident that resulted in the death of April Ivil, who was a passenger in his truck. Murrary was has been charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide, Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Matthew Murrary was driving his truck on Commercial Street in Weymouth at 5:20 a.m. when he allegedly lost control and hit a snowbank, causing the truck to flip over. One of the two passengers, April Ivil, who was thrown from the truck when it flipped over, succumbed to her injuries.

Weymouth Police Officers who responded to the crash reported that Matthew Murray allegedly smelled of alcohol and allegedly exhibited signs of intoxication. Police also reported discovering several open beer cans in the truck.

The Massachusetts DUI Crime of Motor Vehicle Homicide carries a potential state prison sentence of up to 15 years. By definition, the crime of vehicular homicide punishes those that, as a result of their intoxication with drugs or alcohol, operate a vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner and which then results in the death of another person.

A conviction for Motor Vehicle Homicide will most certainly result in the person's driver's license also being suspended for 15 years for a first offense; and for a subsequent offender, there would be a lifetime revocation of the person's driver's license.

Under Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws, a person does not necessarily have to be 'drunk' in order to be deemed 'under the influence'. Rather, being 'under the influence' means that the person's intake of liquor or drugs diminished the person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

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May 8, 2011

Norton Man Arrested on Drunk Driving Crimes After Hitting Utility Pole


James LaVita, 44, of Norton, was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after allegedly crashing his SUV into a utility police in Norton this weekend. He will formally be arraigned on criminal charges including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Norton Police Department, James LaVita alleged crashed into the utility pole sometime after 11:00 p.m. Friday night. At their arrival on scene, Norton Police Officers allegedly observed James LaVita and his vehicle nearby, which had heavy front end damage. The base of the utility pole had been broken off, and the pole itself was left hanging by electrical wires.

The Norton Police Department has not disclosed what evidence they based the DUI / OUI Charges on, including whether James LaVita submitted to any Field Sobriety Tests and or an Alcohol Breath Test.

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May 5, 2011

Middleboro Man Charged with DUI Following Motorcycle Crash


Richard Hasomeris, 42,of Middleboro, has been summonsed to appear in Middleboro District Court to answer a number of Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges for allegedly crashing his motorcycle into a car and then leaving the scene.

He has been charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Personal Injury, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Property Damage, and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Richard Hasomeris crashed his Kawasaki ZX 900 motorcycle on Interstate 495 in Middleboro near Exit 4. It is alleged that Hasomeris left the scene of the accident, but State Police report that witnesses provided them with his registration number.

A search of the motorcycle's registration number led the Massachusetts State Police to Richard Hasomeris' home, where troopers allegedly observed him to be bleeding. He was then taken to a local hospital in Taunton to be treated for his injuries.

In these types of cases, where the person is charged with violating Driving Under the Influence along with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, the typical issue to explore is the Defense of Identification. In every case, the prosecutor has the burden of not only proving that the alleged crimes occurred, but also the burden of proving the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator beyond a reasonable doubt.

Certainly, had Richard Hasomeris not been found at his home and/or suffering from any apparent injuries from a crash, his defense might have been much stronger. Even though the troopers observed some alleged injuries when they found him at his home, that still does not preclude that he has no defenses against these charges.

Rather, all the evidence in this case must be explored and evaluated, including what indicia there is to support the Drunk Driving Charges, as well as examining any discrepancies of purported identification evidence provided by any witnesses.

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May 4, 2011

Springfield Man Charged with 4th Massachusetts DUI


rivera.jpgJose A. Rivera, of Springfield, was arrested this past Monday on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after he allegedly hit a pedestrian. He was arraigned in Springfield District Court on Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Subsequent Offense.

According to the Springfield Police Department, Jose A. Rivera was arrested after police received a report of a pedestrian having been hit by a car. When police arrive, Rivera allegedly displayed "may signs of intoxication", including alcohol on his breath, difficulty standing, bloodshot eyes, and slurred speech.

Springfield Police Officers who responded to the accident allege that Rivera allegedly admitted to having been drinking and that he had had several 'vodka drinks'. He claimed, however, that the pedestrian came out of nowhere and just walked in front of his car.

It's unclear if Jose A. Rivera was asked to perform any Field Sobriety Tests, but according to the Springfield Police Department, he was 'too drunk' to submit to an Breathalyzer Test.

4th Offense Massachusetts OUI / DUI:

The Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charge of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Subsequent Offense, carries severe potential penalties, including:

  • 2 to 5 years committed to state prison

  • 10 years loss of Massachusetts Driver's License

  • Fines of up to $25,000

  • Cancellation of the vehicle's registration for the duration of the license suspension

  • Forfeiture of the vehicle

Simply because the police allege that the driver of a car exhibited 'signs of intoxication' is not fatal to your defense. There may be a variety of explanations that might account for unsteadiness on your feet, bloodshot eyes, an accident, or even the assertion that you smelled of alcohol.

In most Massachusetts DUI / OUI Charges, the person charged may have no choice but to contest the criminal charges at trial given the extreme penalties involved. Even for 1st Offense DUI / OUI Charges, the Registry of Motor Vehicles even considers a 'Continuance Without a Finding' that results in a Dismissal of your case the same as a Guilty finding or a conviction.

For these and many other reasons, if you are charged with Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts, you should explore all your legal rights and defenses and immediately Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

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May 3, 2011

82 Year Old Dedham Man Arrested for DUI After Striking Norwood Police Car


Daniel Farnkoff, 82, of Dedham, was arrested this past Friday on Violation of Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws after allegedly colliding with a Norwood Police cruiser.

According to the Norwood Police Department, a Norwood Police Officer was in the process of handing out a citation to another driver when his police car was allegedly struck by another car driven by Daniel Farnkoff. Aside from the side view mirror of the police vehicle allegedly being struck, there was no other damage or injuries.

Other Norwood Police officers responded to the area and pulled Daniel Farnkoff's vehicle over. Following an 'on scene investigation', Farnkoff was placed under arrest for Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol.

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