The Massachusetts State Police reported that they arrested a New Hampshire man in Lexington for his 6th Drunk Driving Charge after he was allegedly found passed out in his car.
Timothy Converse, 50, was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense.
According to Massachusetts State Police, Converse was found along the side of the road on Route 128 passed out in the driver’s seat with the car running. State troopers allege that Converse smelled an odor of alcohol on his breath, and that he had bloodshot and glassy eyes.
Apparently, when officers ran a check of the driver’s license status, it was discovered that it was suspended because he was a ‘habitual offender’ and that he was also wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet.
Notably, it appears that Massachusetts State Police did not make any observations of any impaired operation, such as any traffic violations, etc. …and without any additional evidence, such as Field Sobriety Tests and/or an Alcohol Breath Test, it appears that the OUI/ DUI charge is extremely weak for the prosecution.
Simply allegations of the smell of alcohol, even a strong odor, and bloodshot eyes, without more evidence, would arguably be difficult to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was operating under the influence of alcohol.
Even in circumstances, such as here, where the car was parked, one can still be charged with OUI / DUI. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has contemplated this issue and decided that an intoxicated driver who only puts the key in the ignition, even without turning the car on, can still be charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.
Under Massachusetts DUI Laws, a car is in “operation” anytime a person intentionally does an act or makes the use of any mechanical or electrical agency that alone, or in sequence, sets in motion the motive power of the car. Even turning the key to the “on” position could constitute part of the sequence that puts the engine in motion, and is therefore “operation”.
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