A Beverly man has been charged with OUI and child endangerment and faces a dangerousness hearing after crashing his minivan with his two-year-old son inside. This article caught my eye, Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, because cases involving harm to children frequently attract significant media attention. The sensationalism with which cases like this are covered in the media often hurts a person's chances of being treated fairly in court, which is why I'm glad this man hired a Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer who should make sure that his rights are respected.
According to New England Cable News, Dana Kessel, 40, was in charge of his three sons while his wife was out of town at a wedding. According to police, Kessel had drunk several beers and liquor at a bar before picking up his youngest son, age 2, from a birthday party. With the child in the car, he lost control of his minivan and slammed into a telephone pole on McPherson Drive. Police were investigating whether the child had been riding in a carseat, or using it correctly, since he was thrown from the backseat onto the dashboard by the crash. Witnesses told NECN that the boy was bleeding and hysterical, and that one witness tried to console the child. A police officer said on camera that the boy required stitches and suffered bruising to his internal organs, and that Kessel did not appear to care that the child was upset. Police also said that Kessel's blood alcohol count was over twice the legal limit and he had bloodshot, glassy eyes; was unsteady on his feet; and slurred his speech. Kessel pleaded not guilty to third-offense OUI and child endangerment in Salem District Court and agreed to enter a 30-day alcohol treatment program. He will return to court for a pretrial dangerousness hearing on Nov. 16.
Read article: Father charged with OUI, child endangerment
As a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense attorney, I know how important it is to ensure that the rights of each person charged with drunk driving are respected according to the law. That includes people accused of high-profile or widely reviled OUIs. No one wants to see children hurt in preventable drunk-driving accidents, least of all the children's own parents. But I get concerned when police officers go on camera for a TV news report and start offering their own interpretations instead of the facts. In the NECN story, for example, the police officer commented that Kessel appeared to be totally unconcerned about his son, who was hysterical and bleeding. Those comments are an interpretation of Kessel's behavior; for all the officer knew, he might have been in shock from the car wreck himself. Comments like this are inflammatory, and they suggest that the police have already decided that he is guilty, rather than extending to him the fair treatment that he is entitled to under the law.