A Worcester man was recently arrested on several Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following his involvement in a three-car crash.
The man, who was driving his minivan with his two daughters (6 and 8 years old) on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Sturbridge, allegedly turned onto an exit ramp and was hit but a tractor-trailer. The impact cause the man's car to then crash into another vehicle.
According to police, the Worcester man submitted to an alcohol breath test which indicated he was at approximately 0.16%. The legal "limit" in Massachusetts is 0.08%.
The Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crime of Child Endangerment While OUI / DUI criminalizes the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child 14 years of age or younger in the car. The potential penalty for a first offense violation is 90 days to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, with a driver's license suspension of 1 year.
In cases such as this, the public perception is that where a drunk driving defendant blew a breath test reading over 0.08% that there is absolutely no defense to his case. This is far from the truth.
In reality, a breath test reading over the legal presumptive limit is not a death sentence, as the prosecutor still has to prove that the operator's ability to operate the vehicle safely was impaired by his consumption of alcohol. Even where an accident occurred, although such could be considered by a jury as to the level of impairment, can also be explained.
Accidents do happen, even when people are not drunk or haven't consumed any alcohol. But people tend to immediately focus on the most egregious facts and sometimes disregard other equally important factors.
For instance, the operator was traveling on the Mass. Pike, and presumably, if going with typical traffic, at speeds of at least 50-60 mph. Assuming evidence would show that he traveled several miles, all the while keeping within his marked lanes, this could demonstrate that he was actually not impaired by the alcohol.
For these and many other reasons, it is extremely critical that those charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving Law Violations consult with a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in defending OUI / DUI charges.