Articles Posted in Defense Issues in OUI / DUI Cases

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In a recent unpublished decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the conviction of a man who was found guilty of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol because his lawyer failed to introduce to the jury evidence that he had an attention deficit disorder and a learning disability.  The Appeals Court agreed that his lawyer failing to introduce this evidence in his defense prejudiced him at trial, as the evidence would have explained to the jury why the defendant was not able to satisfactorily perform field sobriety tests when he was pulled over.

At trial, the Massachusetts State Police Trooper testified that after he pulled the defendant over for speeding at 94 miles per hour, he administered several field sobriety tests, and that the defendant failed them all.  As a result, the trooper concluded that he was operating while under the influence of alcohol and placed him under arrest.  The defendant also submitted to a breathalyzer test which yielded a reading of 0.06%.

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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.