Articles Posted in Uncategorized

Published on:

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently considered whether police officers are permitted to testify concerning the administration of field sobriety tests (FST’s) where they suspect the driver is operating under the influence of marijuana.  Unlike in cases involving alleged operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (OUI/DUI), police officers, the state’s highest court held, may not testify to the administration and results of FST’s in cases involving suspected OUI/DUI drugs/marijuana.

In this case, Commonwealth v. Gerhardt, a Massachusetts State Police Trooper stoped the defendant at 12:20 a.m. because his lights were out. The defendant was driving, and there were two passengers in the car.  As the trooper approached the vehicle after the stop, he “saw smoke inside the vehicle” and “detected ‘the distinct odor of burnt marijuana.'”  The trooper asked the occupants when they had smoked marijuana and one of the passengers stated they had smoked about 20 minutes ago. The defendant, however, stated that they had smoked 3 hours earlier. The trooper asked the defendant how much he had smoked, and the defendant stated he had smoked about 1 gram of marijuana.

The defendant was ordered to exit the vehicle and asked to perform field sobriety tests. The trooper administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus test; the 9 step walk and turn test; and the one legged stand test. He also asked the defendant to recite the alphabet from D to Q and to count backwards from 75 to 62.  He passed the nystagmus test and he was able to recite the portion of alphabet and to count backwards.

Published on:

Massachusetts law permits police officers to conduct OUI/DUI roadblocks, or what is legally kndui-checkpoint-300x185own as “field sobriety checkpoints.” For OUI/DUI roadblocks to be constitutionally valid, the selection of vehicles to be stopped must not be arbitrary; safety must be assured; motorists’ inconvenience must be minimized; and assurance must be given that the procedure to be conducted is pursuant to a plan. The police do not have discretion to target which vehicles stop.

The issue in a recent case, however, centered upon whether the deviations from the written operational plan of an OUI/DUI roadblock conducted by the Massachusetts State Police rendered this particular “field sobriety checkpoint” unconstitutional. Continue reading →

Published on:

The defendant in Commonwealth v. Palacios claimed that the ambulance recambulanceords should not have been admitted against her at his OUI/DUI trial and that references to her intoxication should have been redacted.  The Massachusetts Appeals Court, however, concluded that the ambulance records were properly admitted as records of medical services.

This case began when the defendant ran a stop sign and crashed into another car. The police officer who responded to the accident scene observed the defendant to have glassy eyes and be unsteady on her feet. She admitted to having ben drinking, stating she had 2-3 drinks. She was not arrested at the scene because she claimed to be injured and an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. Continue reading →

Published on:

Richard Hasomeris, 42,of Middleboro, has been summonsed to appear in Middleboro District Court to answer a number of Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges for allegedly crashing his motorcycle into a car and then leaving the scene.

He has been charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Personal Injury, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Property Damage, and Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Richard Hasomeris crashed his Kawasaki ZX 900 motorcycle on Interstate 495 in Middleboro near Exit 4. It is alleged that Hasomeris left the scene of the accident, but State Police report that witnesses provided them with his registration number.