August 2011 Archives

August 30, 2011

President Barack Obama's Uncle Arrested for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts


obama.jpgOnyango Obama, uncle to United States President Barack Obama, was arrested last week in Framingham and charged with allegedly violating the Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws.

According to the Framingham Police Department, Obama was stopped last Wednesday when he almost collided with a police cruiser. After pulling him over, the officer reported that Obama's speech was allegedly slurred, his eyes "red and glassy", and then allegedly admitted to having drank two beers.

Framingham Police allege that Onyango Obama also failed Field Sobriety Tests, and was ultimately arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.

At his booking at the police station, however, Onyango Obama reportedly asked to call the White House when afforded an opportunity to use the telephone. President Obama, who was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts at the time, later issued a statement that he was unaware of his uncle's arrest until informed of such by his press secretary.

According to the Associated Press, Onyango Obama has been in the United States since the 1960's, though his immigration status is unclear. In 1982, however, Onyango Obama was reportedly ordered by a U.S. immigration judge to leave the country because he was in the United States illegally.

Following his arrest on DUI Charges, Onyango Obama will reportedly also have to answer to immigration issues before the United States District Court in Boston, though it is unclear whether deportation proceedings will be forthcoming.

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August 18, 2011

Massachusetts Police Can't Justify Drunk Driving Charges on License Plate Violations


The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that police cannot justify the stop of a vehicle on the basis of an obscured license plate slogan, and in the process, threw out the DUI / OUI charges the driver was arrested for.

In the case of Commonwealth v. Miller, a Massachusetts State Trooper pulled over a car because the slogan of the persons Massachusetts license plate, "The Spirit of America", was partially covered. After pulling the car over, the trooper then arrested the operator for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Third Subsequent Offense.

The Defendant in then challenged the constitutionality and justification of the state trooper pulling the car over, and ultimately succeeded in getting the charges thrown out. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed that, where there were no motor vehicle violations committed by the operator, there was no justification for the stop simply because the slogan of the license plate was covered.

The court ruled that, although Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Laws require that the numbers on a license plate must be legible and able to be identified by others, including law enforcement, the law does not require that the slogan or border of the plate also be readily identifiable.

A stop based only upon the slogan or the border of a license plate being partially concealed is not justified, and any illegal evidence or criminal conduct, even Drunk Driving Charges, resulting from such an unjustified stop must be suppressed or otherwise thrown out.

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August 17, 2011

Defending Massachusetts OUI / DUI When Driver Also Takes Prescription Medication


alcohol and pills.jpgThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided a case where the defendant, charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, consumed alcohol but had also taken prescribed anti-depressant medication; and that she did not know that taking alcohol along with consuming her medication could result in any side effects, such as impairment.

The issue on appeal was whether the trial judge properly instructed the jury on the defense of involuntary intoxication.

In these types of cases, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held, where a person is charged with OUI / DUI and there is evidence of both the voluntary use of alcohol and of prescription medication, the jury should be instructed as follows:

"Where the defendant is charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, it is immaterial whether the driver is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substances. In order to find guilt, the jury need only find that the liquor contributed to the defendant's impairment."

The jury should further be instructed, however, that the defendant in such cases is entitled to an acquittal if the intoxication was caused solely by the prescription medication, taken as prescribed, and the person did not know or have reason to know of the possible side effects of the drug(s) on his/her driving abilities.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Boston OUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis may also be reached at lefteris@travayiakis.com.

August 15, 2011

Less than 50% of Massachusetts DUI Charges End in Convictions


A recent review of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle statistics on Drunk Driving Charges has revealed that less than 50% of all DUI / OUI Charges in the state result in convictions.

According to the Registry, for the three year period of 2006 through 2009, only 49% of drunk driving related charges ended up in convictions. Additionally, the conviction rate for all motor vehicle related crimes was between 52%-58% for that same period.

Data obtained from an independent agency reported that in 2009, there were a total of 12,369 OUI related arrests in Massachusetts. Of those, 108 involved alcohol-related fatalities; 12 of which involved drivers under age 21. Notably, between 1999-2009, drunk driving related fatalities in Massachusetts has dropped over 29%.

If these numbers are correct, then they are certainly indicative of the tremendous chances a person charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs has at obtaining an acquittal in his/her case. Though every case is different and rests on its own specific facts, anyone charged with OUI / DUI should first weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution's case against them and consider proceeding to trial.

Unfortunately, most First Time OUI Offenders are more concerned with only getting their driver's license restored and of disposing the case as quickly as possible. Those first-time offenders who are not properly explained by their attorney the severe consequences of even a great "deal" on a first time DUI charge can be misled into thinking that they got off easy. The reality is that, even with the statutory "24D" disposition that results in a Continuance Without a Finding, the Registry of Motor Vehicles considers that disposition the equivalent of a 'conviction' or a Guilty finding.

For this and many other reasons, it is critical that, if you are charged with Drunk Driving Offense in Massachusetts, you should Consult with a Boston DUI Lawyer so that all your legal alternatives are properly explained to you.

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August 6, 2011

Framingham Man Charged with DUI After Crashing into Statue


minuteman statue.jpgJoshua Wilgoren was arrested Friday on Massachusetts OUI Charges after allegedly crashing into a Minuteman statue in Framingham. He was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.

According to the Framingham Police Department, Wilgoren lost control of his vehicle and struck the statue, which is reportedly 106 years old and one of only three Minuteman statues in Massachusetts. The other two Minuteman statues are located in Concord and Lexington; and interestingly, after the Framingham statue was made, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law banning any further from being made.

Although there is no indication whether Joshua Wilgoren submitted to any Field Sobriety Tests or an Alcohol Breath Test, Framingham Police he allegedly admitted to having had a few too many to drink - if you believe that.

Following his arraignment on DUI / OUI Charges in Framingham District Court, Wilgoren was released on his own personal recognizance.

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August 4, 2011

Dartmouth Man Charged with DUI in Fatal New Bedford Crash


Patrick Coelho, 37, was arraigned this past Tuesday on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after a crash with a motorcycle resulted in the death of the driver. Coelho was charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide; Operation of a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Subsequent Offense; Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death; and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Patrick Coelho was allegedly drove threw two red lights and was following several cars too closely when he then struck a motorcycle driven by Michael A. Powers. Dartmouth Police officers reported that witnesses allegedly observed Coelho was trying to make a pass when he collided with the motorcycle. After allegedly striking the motorcycle, Coelho allegedly failed to stop, and witnesses claimed that the driver of the motor cycle was atop of the car while the vehicle dragged the motorcycle beneath it.

Patrick Coelho was on foot when he was apprehended by Dartmouth Police, and reportedly denied that he was driving any vehicle that night. Prosecutors allege, however, that Coelho had a set of Mercedes car keys on him and was holding two Vodka 'nips'. He also allegedly failed Field Sobriety Tests and had a reading of 0.19% after submitting to a Breathalyzer Test.

Following his arraignment on Massachusetts OUI / DUI Charges, Patrick Coelho was held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

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August 1, 2011

Boston Special Needs Driver Charged with Drunk Driving


Boghosian_03driver1_MET[1].jpgAddis Gabriel Wildeguiorguis, of Dorchester, was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Law Violations this morning after he crashed a van with 12 special needs individuals into a garbage truck. He was arraigned in Newton District Court on OUI / DUI charges including Operating Under the Influence of Drugs and Unlawful Possession of a Class B Substance, Crack Cocaine.

According to Newton Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Wildeguiorguis was driving a van for AART Transportation when he allegedly drove right into a garbage truck. Passengers in the van included 12 special needs individuals, who were being transported to a center to receive services or treatment.

Prosecutors allege that when police responded, Wildeguiorguis told officers he had ingested oxycodone pills. Following his alleged admission of having ingested the pills, he was arrested for DUI / OUI. A search of the van following his arrest allegedly yielded a crack pipe and a bag believed to contain crack cocaine.

Following Wildeguiorguis arraignment in Newton District Court for OUI Drugs, he was held on $5,000 bail.

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