Articles Posted in OUI/DUI

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Anyone can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A glass of wine at happy hour can subject you to stiff fines and penalties once you get behind the wheel. Being arrested does not make you a bad person, but merely shows the lapse in judgment you may have made.

Recently, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps got another drunk driving arrest. Law enforcement officials claim Phelps was speeding when they pulled him over and failed a series of field sobriety tests. Phelps was charged with a DUI, excessive speeding, and for making illegal lane changes. Phelps immediately acknowledged the arrest and issued a statement apologizing for his conduct. He made a lapse in judgment and is now suffering the consequences.

Drunk Driving Arrest

Drunk Driving Arrest

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Being charged with a DUI in Massachusetts can be a traumatic experience and could happen to just about anyone. After facing charges, you might wonder if you should contact a drunk-driving attorney. You may also be curious about how you will be prosecuted and what consequences you will face, both personally and professionally. Read on to learn more about what you should do when facing a drunk-driving charge.

Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Defending People Charged With a DUI

Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Defending People Charged With a DUI

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The emphatic answer to this question is YES! There are numerous substances that can cause a person to blow a false positive on a breathalyzer test. The problem is that even if you have not been drinking, and you blow a false, you will still be arrested. If you have been arrested, but are convinced that your breathalyzer test yielded a false positive, an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney will be able to help you build your case as to your innocence.

False Positive on a Breathalyzer Test

False Positive on a Breathalyzer Test

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A terrible car accident in Methuen resulted in the death of a Lawrence man, serious injuries to another and a Lowell police officer in jail.  The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reported that Lowell Police Officer Eric Wayne will face a judge in Lawrence District Court on Monday where he will be arraigned for charges of motor vehicle homicide, having an open container of alcohol in his motor vehicle, operating under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger. The paper reported that the officer is held on $500,000.000 bail.

Lowell Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

Lowell Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

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When a police officer pulls over a driver or stops a driver at a DUI checkpoint because the officer suspects that the driver may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer will more than likely request that the suspect driver participate in a series of tests commonly referred to as field sobriety tests. In Massachusetts, you have the right to refuse to participate in these tests.

Massachusetts OUI Defense Lawyer

Massachusetts OUI Defense Lawyer

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The Fourth of July holiday is one that is often celebrated by gatherings of friends and family members enjoying a barbeque-style meal, with lots of fireworks. The festivities are often accompanied by the consumption of alcohol. This year, Independence Day fell on a Friday – a convenient circumstance given that fireworks are often the most spectacular late at night and Fridays make for excellent party nights since many individuals do not have work on Saturday morning. Undoubtedly, there were most likely some Massachusetts drivers who didn’t exercise their best judgment this past weekend, and who drank alcohol and then proceeded to drive a vehicle.Defending Massachusetts OUI Cases Continue reading

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Sometimes people make mistakes and don’t exercise their best judgment when it comes to drinking and driving. That seems to be the case for Massachusetts State Trooper, Dale Jenkins III, who is the subject of a recent article in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. Jenkins, of North Andover, has a 14-year history of service with the state police, in addition to belonging to a family legacy of law enforcement officials; Jenkins is the third generation in his family to serve in law enforcement in the state of Massachusetts. However, according to the Tribune, Jenkins was admitted to the emergency room at Lawrence General Hospital after being involved in a car accident, but refused to provide the medical staff with samples of his blood and urine for testing purposes, which fueled accusations by the state prosecutor during Jenkins’ arraignment hearing that the trooper was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune recently reported that an American Revolution memorial honoring the Methuen men who fought in the Revolutionary War was struck and damaged by a drunk driver. A Haverhill man was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident and exhibited erratic driving behavior both before and after striking the memorial with his vehicle, witnesses reported. The Tribune notes that Haverhill police arrested the driver of the car and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol.  The Methuen police will charge him with speeding and leaving the scene of an accident after causing damage to property. Continue reading

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There are recent reports that Dina Lohan, mother of the infamous Lindsay Lohan, was recently arrested and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol. In Massachusetts the offense of OUI or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) is a misdemeanor but depending on the circumstances there can be a myriad of dispositions. If you have been charged with operating under the influence of alcohol in Massachusetts the first thing to do is to hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.

In Dina Lohan’s case it was reported that she was traveling over the speed limit which led to the police pulling over the car. Apparently the actress appeared intoxicated and blew a breathalyzer reading of twice the legal limit. Unfortunately, it appears that Dina is following in the footsteps of her daughter and ex-husband by facing these charges in criminal court. Dina’s ex reportedly stated that he hopes that this incident could be a catalyst for her to seek help.

In these types of cases, an experience defense attorney will examine all of the circumstances surrounding the stop and exit order from the car. In Massachusetts citizens have a constitutional right to a reasonable expectation of privacy and the police cannot pull a car over for no apparent reason. Although speeding, or any civil motor vehicle infraction, can justify a stop–it is important to ensure that the stop was legitimate. For example, in Massachusetts, just because an individual is lost does not provide justification for pulling the car over. In the event that a motion to suppress the stop and evidence [i.e., sobriety test, breathalyzer etc.] is allowed the case is usually dismissed as there is no evidence left to prosecute.

Furthermore, in the event that there was a breathalyzer, all of the circumstances surrounding the taking of the breath sample must be carefully examined. For example, the breathalyzer operator and the machine itself must be certified to ensure that proper procedures were implemented. Again, if proper procedure was not followed a motion to suppress should be filed. However, if it is allowed it does not necessarily mean that the Commonwealth will dismiss the case–the breathalyzer results will be suppressed but the criminal case will probably proceed without it.

In the event the case proceeds to trial the Commonwealth has the burden of proving that the defendant was driving a “motor vehicle”, on a public way while “under the influence of alcohol.’ Most litigation surrounds the element of “under the influence of alcohol.” An experienced attorney will cross examine the arresting police officer and highlight the conduct that the defendant engaged in that supports that he or she was NOT under the influence of alcohol.

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News sources report that LaMar Odom, husband to reality star Khloe Kardashian, was recently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol [DUI] in California. According to one report, the police pulled the car driven by Odom over because he was driving it was driving too slowly. Apparently, field sobriety tests were administered which the unlucky basketball star failed, in the officer’s opinion of course, and he was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

In Massachusetts a “DUI” if also often referred to as an “OUI” or “operating under the influence of alcohol. Although all of the specific facts are not known in this case, a good place to start for a defense here would be to attack the initial stop and exit order from the car. The paper indicates that the car was pulled over because it was traveling too slowly. It would be important to determine exactly how slowly the car was going-after all driving slowly is usually a good thing–not a bad thing. If the only problem that the police officer had with the driving was that he was driving i too slowly and there was no other indications of impairment i.e., crossing over the lines or swerving, there may be limited evidence to prove impairment or to justify the pulling over of the car.

In Massachusetts, in order to attack the stop of the car a motion to suppress the stop, exit order and evidence should be filed. The grounds for the stop would be that the police had no reason to pull the car over. If the stop, exit order and/or search is found to be unconstitutional then the evidence, i.e., the field sobriety tests and the officer’s observations, will be ordered suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” When this happens the case is usually dismissed unless the Commonwealth can prove its case by other evidence that was not suppressed.

If the case does proceed to trial then the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant was driving the car, that the defendant was on a public way and that he or she was under the influence of alcohol beyond a reasonable doubt. The most contested area is usually the “under the influence” element of the crime. Often, the police officer testifies that a defendant has “slurred speech,” was “unsteady on his or her feet” and/or was swaying. Relative to the speech, it is important to keep in mind that in most cases the arresting officer has never spoken to the defendant before therefore, would not know what his or her usual speech pattern was like. Similarly, describing someone as “unsteady on his feet” is very vague and if the police officer had not seen the person’s gait before that evening, how can this be used as a factor to determine sobriety? Another piece of evidence that officer’s often say at trial is that there was a “strong odor of alcohol” coming from the interior of the car and/or from the defendant. However, keep in mind that alcohol is actually odorless. Furthermore, it is impossible to tell how much alcohol a person consumed based on order and it is also impossible to determine at what time a person consumed alcohol based on an odor.

Whether the defendant was “operating” the vehicle is also an element that is often contested at trial. It is important to realize that simply having the keys in the ignition is enough to establish operation in Massachusetts. Finally, a public way is a “way” that is operated and maintained by the city and the public has a right to access it. Thus, if a defendant is driving in a parking lot that is a public lot accessible from a highway, the area is public way.

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