A man from South Boston was arrested earlier this month for the 9th time in connection with a Massachusetts Drunk Driving charge.
The defendant, 51, was arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense and Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Property Damage. Following his arraignment, the defendant was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the defendant was driving a rented truck when he got into an accident with another car in the Boston's South End. Prosecutors allege that the defendant fled the scene but the other vehicle followed him to a gas station.
Boston Police Officers responded and when the defendant exited his car, police observed the man had an orthopedic walking boot on the passenger's seat. Inside the boot, Boston police allegedly seized a a bottle of chocolate whipped creme flavored vodka.
The defendant was arrested following his refusal to submit to field sobriety tests and a chemical breath test.
At his arraignment, prosecutors represented that the defendant had been previously convicted eight other times. Following his last conviction in 2007, the defendant was sentenced to a sentence of 2.5 years in the House of Corrections.
An OUI / DUI 5th or Subsequent Offense carries the potential for imprisonment of not less than 2.5 years and up to 5 years in state prison. In addition to a prison sentence, a person convicted of drunk driving five or more times also faces a lifetime revocation of his driver's license.
Additionally, as in this case, when a person is charged with drunk driving with so many prior DUI / OUI conviction, it is common that prosecutors will seek to have him/her held without bail pursuant the 'dangerousness' statute. If the government moves for a dangerousness hearing, it is the government's burden to prove that there are no reasonable conditions of release that would ensure the safety of the defendant and/or the public.
Also, when it comes to a prosecution involving multiple prior offenses, the prosecutor also has to prove that the the person on trial is the same person that was previously convicted of those prior OUI / DUI charges. This might sound simple, but it becomes exponentially complicated and sometimes difficult to prove. Common issues in challenging prior convictions could be circumstances involving where the prior convictions are several years or decades old; where the person has a common name; or the prior files do not contain any booking photos of the person.
As such, it is not that uncommon for a person to have been tried for OUI / DUI, convicted, but the government was unable to prove the prior convictions. A defendant in this scenario would only have been convicted of and subject to the penalties of a first-offender DUI / OUI.
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