December 2011 Archives

December 27, 2011

Massachusetts Law on DUI / OUI Checkpoints


When it comes to DUI / OUI roadblocks, aka "sobriety checkpoints", Massachusetts law permits police to establish DUI roadblocks so long as the selection of vehicles stopped is not arbitrary and the procedure is conducted pursuant to a plan devised by law enforcement supervisors.

By way of background, a stop of a car at a police roadblock, no matter how brief, is considered to be a warrantless seizure that implications constitutional protections under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The United States Supreme Court has upheld police using DUI checkpoints if they are reasonable and balance the public interest in reducing alcohol related accidents against a person's constitutional rights.

The reason police must operate an OUI checkpoint according to a devised plan is because it is illegal for police to target which vehicles to stop. Even fixed checkpoints where police stop cars according to no set plan or pattern are illegal. In other words, if the police officers have any discretion in the stopping of vehicles, the constitutionality of the sobriety checkpoint will not be upheld.

Massachusetts courts have therefore required that, in order for police to conduct a DUI / OUI Sobriety Checkpoint, they must be governed by standard, neutral guidelines that clearly the forbid the arbitrary selection of vehicles to be initially stopped.

Once a car has been selected at the DUI checkpoint and only if the police officer has reasonable suspicion, "based upon articulable facts" that the driver may be operating under the influence, he may lawfully direct that driver to submit to a secondary screening. Courts have generally upheld further screening after the initial stop if the screening officers observed "any articulable sign of possible intoxication."

Because challenging your OUI / DUI arrest following a sobriety checkpoint is very technical and turns on the intricacies of the drunk driving laws, you should immediately consult with an attorney who has experience in drunk driving matters.

Boston DUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes.

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

December 25, 2011

Massachusetts Man Charged with 4th DUI


A Raynham man was arrested this past week ans changed with several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after allegedly crashing into another car from behind.

Darryl Torres, 49, of Raynham, was arraigned in Taunton District Court and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 4th Subsequent Offense and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Taunton Police Department, Torres allegedly collided into the car last Friday. The other car was reportedly stopped at an intersection. Following the crash, Torres allegedly left the scene of the accident but later returned, where police allege his vehicle had front end damage and Torres exhibited signs of intoxication, including slurred speech.

Torres reportedly faild Field Sobriety Tests and also allegedly failed an Alcohol Breath Test.

OUI / DUI 4th Subsequent Offense carries significant penalties in Massachusetts, including imprisonment for not less than 2 years and up to 5 years in state prison. Additionally, a conviction for a 4th drunk driving offense would result in the persons driver's license being suspended for 10 years; and the prosecutor could seek that the persons vehicle be forfeited.

Boston DUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including OUI / DUI 4th Offense and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

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

December 19, 2011

Haverhill Woman Charged With Vehicular Homicide in Fatal DUI Crash


A Haverhill woman has been charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after she allegedly struck and killed a woman who was standing out her car.

Lisa Leavitt was arraigned this morning in Haverhill District Court on DUI / OUI charges including Motor Vehicle Homicide While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to prosecutors in Haverhill, Leavitt's car struck the 64 year old woman, Karen LaPierre, outside a donut shop as she was putting donuts in the trunk of her car. The impact reportedly pinned Lapierre between the two vehicles, which eventually resulted in her death.

The Haverhill Police Department alleged that Lapierre failed Field Sobriety Tests and submitted to a Breathalyzer Test, which yielded a reading of 0.18%.

Vehicular Homicide by OUI / DUI is punishable in Massachusetts with imprisonment to the House of Corrections for not less than 1 year to 2.5 years; or to state prison for not less than 2.5 to 15 years. In cases, however, where there is no evidence of reckless or negligent driving, even if the blood alcohol content is 0.08% or greater, the penalty is not less than 30 days and up to 2.5 years in the house of corrections.

Beyond the potential for imprisonment, persons convicted of Motor Vehicle Homicide also face severe driver's license implications, including revocation of your license for 15 years.

Under Massachusetts law, 'being under the influence' does not mean "drunk". Rather, 'being under the influence' means that the person's intake of alcohol or drugs diminished his/her ability to operate the vehicle safely - in other words, the person had consumed enough of the intoxicating substance to reduce his/her mental clarity, self-control and reflexes so as to have had a reduced ability to drive safely.

Whether charged with a simple OUI offense such as Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol or something more serious, such as Vehicular Homicide by OUI / DUI, those charged with these crimes should immediately Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Haverhill Woman Charged With Vehicular Homicide in Fatal DUI Crash" »

December 12, 2011

Lowell School Bus Driver Charged with Drunk Driving


schoo bus.jpgA school bus driver from Lowell was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges last week after she allegedly crashed with children on board.

Mary T. Morrison, 53, was arraigned in Lowell District Court on charges of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 14 counts of Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI; and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

According to the Lowell Police Department, Morrison was allegedly driving the bus around 8 a.m. in late October with 14 children on board when she crashed into two parked cars. Lowell Police further allege that she did not stop following the accident.

With the passing of "Melanie's Law" in 2005, the Massachusetts state legislature enacted the OUI / DUI Crime of Child Endangerment While Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, which now makes it a crime to operating a vehicle while under the influence with a child 14 years of age or younger.

The DUI / OUI Crime of Child Endangerment is punishable with imprisonment for not less than 90 days and up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, as well as a 1 year loss of license. 2nd or subsequent offenders can be punished by imprisonment for not less than 6 months up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections; or 3-5 years in state prison.

Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Lowell School Bus Driver Charged with Drunk Driving" »

December 5, 2011

Plymouth Man Arrested for DUI After Accident with Serious Injuries


A Plymouth man was arrested by the Hingham Police Department on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after he allegedly crashed his car head-on into an SUV this past weekend.

William E. Vonberg, 41, was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According the Hingham Police Department, Vonberg was allegedly traveling on Route 228 on Sunday night when he struck another car head-on. The other vehicle, driven by a 59 year old woman from Hingham with a 60 year old Brockton woman in the passenger seat, reportedly needed to be removed from their car with the jaws of life.

Vonberg was also reportedly removed from his car with the jaws of life and transported to Boston Medical Center with serious injuries.

Hingham Police allege that Vonger's car crossed the center median and struck the other car head on. A search of his car allegedly revealed open alcohol beverage containers in the front seat.

In Massachusetts DUI / OUI cases where the suspected drunk driver was also injured and clearly not able to submit to any Field Sobriety Tests and/or an Alcohol Breath Test, prosecutors will often attempt to subpoena the person's medical records from his treatment of his/her injuries following the accident. Prosecutors know that, once admitted to the hospital, doctors will usually test the patient's blood for the presence of drugs or alcohol and if any were present, will try to admit those records as evidence against him should the case proceed to trial.

Because of the very serious consequences involved in any Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charge, it is critical that you Contact a Boston DUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Plymouth Man Arrested for DUI After Accident with Serious Injuries" »

December 2, 2011

Massachusetts Police Arrest Man for 6th Drunk Driving Offense


The Massachusetts State Police reported that they arrested a New Hampshire man in Lexington for his 6th Drunk Driving Charge after he was allegedly found passed out in his car.

Timothy Converse, 50, was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense.

According to Massachusetts State Police, Converse was found along the side of the road on Route 128 passed out in the driver's seat with the car running. State troopers allege that Converse smelled an odor of alcohol on his breath, and that he had bloodshot and glassy eyes.

Apparently, when officers ran a check of the driver's license status, it was discovered that it was suspended because he was a 'habitual offender' and that he was also wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Notably, it appears that Massachusetts State Police did not make any observations of any impaired operation, such as any traffic violations, etc. ...and without any additional evidence, such as Field Sobriety Tests and/or an Alcohol Breath Test, it appears that the OUI/ DUI charge is extremely weak for the prosecution.

Simply allegations of the smell of alcohol, even a strong odor, and bloodshot eyes, without more evidence, would arguably be difficult to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was operating under the influence of alcohol.

Even in circumstances, such as here, where the car was parked, one can still be charged with OUI / DUI. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has contemplated this issue and decided that an intoxicated driver who only puts the key in the ignition, even without turning the car on, can still be charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.

Under Massachusetts DUI Laws, a car is in "operation" anytime a person intentionally does an act or makes the use of any mechanical or electrical agency that alone, or in sequence, sets in motion the motive power of the car. Even turning the key to the "on" position could constitute part of the sequence that puts the engine in motion, and is therefore "operation".

Continue reading "Massachusetts Police Arrest Man for 6th Drunk Driving Offense" »

December 1, 2011

Peabody Man Arrested in Swampscott for Drunk Driving on Thanksgiving


A Peabody man was arrested on Thanksgiving night on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following an accident.

The man was arrested for several charges, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of Property Damage and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to Swampscott Police, officers responded to a call for a hit and run, but were directed by a witness to an SUV with front end damage that was allegedly leaving the scene.

When officers stopped the car, they allegedly recovered a beer bottle from the passenger side floor; and reportedly smelled a "strong odor of alcohol" from the man, along with bloodshot and glassy eyes.

The Peabody man reportedly exercised his constitutional rights and refused to submit to any Field Sobriety Tests.

The man, however, reportedly failed to appear for his arraignment in Lynn District Court on these OUI / DUI Charges.

In many of these cases that are reported by the media of alleged drunk drivers who are stopped and police alleged glassy and bloodshot eyes, even with an odor of alcohol, most people think that these individuals are immediately guilty and have no chance at beating their case.

In the vast majority of cases, even evidence of some intoxication, may not be enough for the government to prove the charges against them.

Rather, almost every DUI / OUI case involves allegations of some evidence of intoxication. People should remember, however, that drinking and driving is not a crime. The government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant consumed so that his/her ability to operate a vehicle safely was impaired.

For that reason, anyone charged with Drunk Driving in Massachusetts would be wise to immediately Contact a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

Continue reading "Peabody Man Arrested in Swampscott for Drunk Driving on Thanksgiving" »