A North Reading man was arrested for operating under the influence on the day after his driver's license was returned to him, the Salem News reported Dec. 8. James Malone had lost his license for six months because of a previous OUI conviction from Woburn. He was driving from Peabody into Salem Dec. 4 when another driver called the police to report erratic driving. Responding officers saw Malone run a stop sign and pulled him over. According to police, he tried 20 times to open the door but failed, and instead rolled down the window. Officers noticed several other signs of intoxication, and Malone failed field sobriety tests. While attempting to perform them, he reportedly urinated on himself. Two breath tests registered 0.20 and 0.21 BAC readings, far over the legal limit of 0.08. Officers seized and destroyed his license at the station and charged him with a third-offense OUI as well as failure to stop for the stop sign.
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Under these circumstances, I'm glad that Malone already has a Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer. In fact, the article suggests charges from Malone's previous offense in Woburn are still pending. This means a third OUI charge may not be legally appropriate, although the previous charge is likely to be resolved before Malone faces trial on the most recent charge. A third drunk driving offense is a serious crime charged as a felony in Massachusetts, not a misdemeanor like earlier OUIs, so Malone would be facing a felony conviction if he loses his case. Third offenses also carry mandatory jail or prison time, an eight-year driver's license suspension and fines of up to $15,000. And under Melanie's Law, Malone would be eligible for an ignition interlock device if he gets a hardship license, for which he would be eligible after four years.
Because these penalties are so serious, it's important for people facing them to make sure they have the best possible defenses ready. Even drivers who feel a guilty plea is more appropriate can benefit from the help of an experienced Massachusetts OUI criminal defense attorney, who can negotiate for the fairest possible penalties in exchange for the plea.