Articles Posted in DUI / OUI / Drunk Driving

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In the case of Commonwealth v. Rarick, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that, evidence of alcohol consumption, speeding, along with the officer’s opinion that he was intoxicated, was sufficient to sustain a conviction for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol.

The defendant was stopped by police for speeding; traveling 58 mph in a 45 mph zone.  Although there was no evidence before the jury of any erratic operation, field sobriety tests, nor any testimony that he was unsteady on his feet or swaying or staggering, the officer testified that he could smell a moderate odor of alcohol.  The defendant also admitted to having drank a six-pack 2 hours prior.

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In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed the defendant’s challenge to the lawfulness of the stop of his car based on an anonymous caller’s 911 call to the police.  Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence, arguing that the police did not have reliable information to seize him for suspected drunk driving.  He argued that the subsequent field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed, should have been suppressed as a result of the unlawful stop.  The appeals court affirmed his conviction and held that the government had sufficient proven that basis of knowledge and the veracity of the anonymous caller.

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A Stoughton woman was arrested on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges earlier this month in at a drunk driving checkpoint in Canton.

The OUI / DUI roadblock, which was conducted by the Massachusetts State Police, resulted in the arrest of 6 people and approximately 88 civil motor vehicle citations.

It is well known that the Massachusetts State Police and local police departments sometimes use drunk driving roadblocks to investigate the OUI / DUI laws. Massachusetts law permits police to stop vehicles randomly, but the selection process must not be arbitrary and the method of stopping the vehicles must be according to a devised plan.

If the police stop vehicles at a drunk driving roadblock that is not according to a previously-devised plan, the stop would be considered illegal. Even fixed checkpoints where police stop cars without a pre-devised plan or patters are not constitutional and illegal. Simply put, the police cannot use any arbitrary discretion in selecting which vehicles are stopped.

Once a car has been selected and is pulled over and only if the police officer has reasonable suspicion “based on articulable facts” that the driver may be operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, only then may he direct that driver to a secondary screening area. Massachusetts courts have generally upheld this further screening if the police officer has observed some articulable signs of possible intoxication.

Persons that have been stopped at a drunk driving sobriety checkpoint and ultimately arrested should always challenge the constitutionality of the roadblock because Massachusetts criminal law places the burden on the prosecutor to prove that the procedure was constitutional and conducted in accordance with the law. If the prosecutor is unable to establish his burden and demonstrate that the checkpoint was reasonable and constitutionally conducted, then your case may ultimately be dismissed.

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

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

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A Lowell man was arrested this past weekend for Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after he allegedly drove his car into a Massachusetts State Police vehicle.

The defendant, Justin Castanza, is alleged to have collided with the state police cruiser while the trooper passed through intersection on his way to respond to another incident. The vehicle drive by the defendant allegedly passed through a red light.

The defendant was ultimately arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.

OUI / DUI cases involving allegations that the motorist passed through a red light or even got into an accident are not necessarily fatal or defenseless. In the large majority of drunk driving cases, the question of whether the operating was impaired due to alcohol consumption will turn to the question of other indicia of impairment, such as field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, open containers, and other evidence of alcohol impairment (unsteady on his feet; odor of alcohol; failure to maintain proper balance, etc).

Though prosecutors will focus their case on traffic infractions and whether there was an accident to establish a causal connection with impairment, there could be very well be other defenses. For instance, a driver who runs a red light and/or is involved in an accident could have been distracted by a number of things: the cell phone or texting; fatigue; or perhaps a medical condition.

Not every single DUI / OUI case is worthy of trial, but the vast majority of them arguably are. Particularly given the extreme and collateral consequences one may face with a drunk driving conviction, it is important that a person charged with a Massachusetts OUI / DUI consults with an experienced attorney who is able to evaluate the totality of circumstances in an effort to undermine the strength of the prosecutions case and establish any viable defenses you may have.

Boston OUI / DUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in successfully defending Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges and is available 24/7 for consultation.

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

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A Massachusetts State Police Trooper was charged this past week with Drunk Driving Charges.

The defendant state police trooper was arraigned in Falmouth District Court on charges of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol.

According to prosecutors, the Bourne Police Department received two 911 calls concerning an erratic driver and for an intoxicated man who was allegedly trying to run a female off the road. The state police trooper, allegedly traveling at 80 miles per hour, almost struck two cars.

Ultimately, the defendant state trooper was pulled over at a car dealership on Route 28 and then taken to the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Bourne. Taking over this investigation from the Bourne Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police trooper asked him to submit to field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer test. The defendant state trooper refused the chemical breath test.

According to state police spokesman, the defendant trooper was also currently on ‘restricted duty’ following a previous allegation of violation of police department regulations.

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

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

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A Weymouth plow driver was charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving for alleged driving his pickup truck into cars during the last snow storm.

According to another driver, the plow driver was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road when he struck his car and then kept on going. According to the Weymouth police department, the plow driver hit a total of 7 cars that night.

Police allege that the plow driver didn’t realize that he had struck the vehicles when he was located at South Shore Hospital where he went to visit a patient there.

The plow driver is charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

In defending OUI / DUI crimes, it is necessary for the police to establish that the operator’s ability to operate the vehicle safely was impaired due to his intoxication to alcohol. Where the person allegedly fled the scene and where there is no evidence of a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests, the prosecution’ burden becomes that much more difficult.

Most drivers are not even aware that if they are ever pulled over for suspected drunk driving and are asked to perform field sobriety tests that they have an absolute right to refuse. Despite the fact that field sobriety tests, in and of themselves, are not all that reliable anyways, prosecutors place great emphasis when the police allege that the person failed the tests. Additionally, an operator’s refusal to submit to field sobriety tests is not admissible against him if he ultimately decides to proceed to trial.

The same holds true for Massachusetts Breathalyzer Test Refusals. Although a driver will face a lengthier suspension of his license for refusing to submit to a chemical breath tests, the operator’s refusal cannot be held against him and cannot be introduced as evidence of consciousness of guilty against him at trial.

Whether a driver was ‘somewhat impaired’ or ‘totally wasted’ when charged with DUI / OUI, there is almost always some defensible issues that can be explored in his defense.

Boston Drunk Driving Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis can be reached at 617-325-9500 or online by Requesting a Free Consultation with a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer.

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A Needham woman was arrested for Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes last Thursday night after she struck a Massachusetts State Trooper vehicle.

The Needham woman was arraigned in Dedham District Court and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to police, the woman was traveling in the northbound lane on Route 109 in a construction zone when she struck the trooper’s vehicle. The Massachusetts State Police trooper was transported to the hospital with neck and back injuries.

The woman reportedly also refused to submit to a Breathalyzer Test, which triggered an automatic suspension of her driver’s license for 180 days.

The Massachusetts OUI / DUI Crime of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol is a misdemeanor though prosecuted very aggressively in all counties. Although a first-offense OUI / DUI carries the potential for imprisonment for up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, Massachusetts law offers an ‘Alternative Disposition’ for first time drunk driving offenders.

For persons who take advantage of the alternative disposition, persons who admit “sufficient facts for a finding of guilty” are placed on probation for a period of time, typically one year; are ordered to enter a Drug-Alcohol Education Program; will be subjected to a loss of their driver’s license for a period of 45-90 days; and will be ordered to pay upwards of $1,000 or more of fines/fees.

In circumstances such as these where the person refused to submit to a Breathalyzer Test, any other license suspension will be incurred following the 180 day license suspension for refusing the breathalyzer test.

Although Massachusetts OUI / DUI laws makes it very attractive for first time offenders to take advantage of this Alternative Disposition, any person charged with OUI / DUI should first thoroughly evaluate the strengths/weaknesses of taking their case to trial.

The reality is that a very large percentage of drunk driving cases are very beatable. For that reason, anyone charged with a drunk driving offense should consult with an experienced OUI / DUI Lawyer.

Boston DUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in successfully defending Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for free consultation.

Click Here to Schedule a Consultation with a Massachusetts DUI / OUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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An assistant football coach at Wayland High School was arrested last weekend on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges following his teams victory that evening.

The Wayland coach was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol at his arraignment in Framingham District Court earlier this week.

According to police, the defendant almost veered into a police cruiser after he allegedly crossed the double yellow lines. The officer pulled over the vehicle and reportedly smelled an odor of alcohol from the vehicle and the operator slurring his words. In his report, the officer also alleged that the defendant admitted to having a few beers prior to being pulled over.

The defendant also reportedly agreed to perform Field Sobriety Tests. Although he allegedly failed two, but passed the Nine Step Walk and Turn Test, which is arguably the most “difficult” of these ridiculous ‘tests’. Nonetheless, the fact that the officer admitted that he ‘passed’ one out of three field sobriety tests does significant harm to the prosecutions case.

Notably, it is within your legal right to refuse to submit to any field sobriety tests.

The reality is that drinking and driving is not a crime. The consumption of alcohol and driving only becomes a criminal act when the alcohol impairs the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Although evidence of and even an admission of having consumed alcohol is not ideal, that fact is not fatal to a DUI / OUI defense.

In the totality of these circumstances, it appears that the only evidence of erratic operation is the single veering into the opposite lane, for which there could be numerous innocent explanations. For example, the driver could have been distracted with his cell phone; was trying to light a cigarette; was changing the music station; or was simply just tired.

Unfortunately for OUI /DUI defendants, the public immediately convicts anyone and everyone simply arrested for drunk driving, without consideration of all the innocent facts and circumstances and with complete disregard that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Boston DUI / OUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

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

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A Fall River woman was arrested this past weekend on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after she allegedly struck a state police car. She was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, the Fall River woman struck the Massachusetts State Police cruise on Route 195 West while troopers were doing a detail as highway work was being performed. After the crash, the woman allegedly kept on driving and was stopped down the road by another Massachusetts trooper.

Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle is punishable by imprisonment to the House of Corrections for not less than 2 week and up to 2 years. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) operation, (2) on a public way; and (3) in a negligent manner so that the lives or safety of the public might have been endangered.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident is also punishable with imprisonment for not less than 2 weeks and up to 2 years in the House of Corrections. The purpose of this criminal charge is to enable anyone whose property or person has been injured by another motorist to obtain immediate and accurate information about the other person involved in the accident. The extent of the damage or injury, therefore, is not relevant except only to the extent that it is circumstantial evidence as to whether or not the defendant knew that there had been a collision.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

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

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A few months ago I wrote about a decision the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued which rejected the Registry of Motor Vehicle’s definition of “conviction” with respect to Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws, as it applied to OUI / DUI convictions and Breathalyzer Test Refusals. Following that decision by the court, the Massachusetts Legislature has now closed that ‘loophole’.

By way of background, in May 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that, under the law at the time, a “conviction” meant only dispositions of criminal charged where an actual determination of guilt was imposed.

The issue arose following the suspension of a person’s driver’s license for 3 years by the Registry of Motor Vehicles because he had previously been convicted of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol. The driver appealed the 3 year suspension, claiming that his license should only have been suspended for 180 days because in his previous case was Continued Without a Finding – he argued that this was not the equivalent of a ‘conviction’ or guilty finding. He pointed out that, in obtaining a Continuance Without a Finding, he only admitted to ‘sufficient facts for a finding of guilty’, which is not the same as pleading guilty. The Massachusetts Supreme Court agreed, and stated that “If the legislature, in enacting Melanie’s Law, had wanted to include an admission to sufficient facts in the definition of ‘convicted’, it could have done so explicitly.”

Following the court’s ruling, the Massachusetts legislature closed this ‘loophole’ and amended the statute, which now does consider Continuances Without a Finding and Breathalyzer Test refusals as ‘convictions’ for purposes of the Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws.

Boston Drunk Driving Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation for all Massachusetts OUI / DUI Charges, including Massachusetts Criminal Appeals.

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