Articles Posted in 3rd Offense OUI DUI

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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.

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A series of articles and videos in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger about a rise in the number of women being convicted of drunk driving caught my eye recently. The videos describe the struggles of two women to put their lives back together after their drunk driving arrests. As a Massachusetts drunk driving criminal defense attorney, it’s my view that these women’s stories demonstrate how important it is for all drivers to use good judgment before getting behind the wheel — and also, how important it is to make sure that you have expert legal counsel if you get into trouble. It’s hard enough to handle the psychological and physical consequences of alcohol abuse without adding legal troubles to the mix.

It’s not clear why, but the Patriot-Ledger reported that as nationwide drunk driving arrests for men fell over 8 percent from 1999 to 2009, they shot up by nearly 42 percent for women. In Massachusetts, over 30 percent more women were arrested for OUI in 2009 than in 1999. Sarah Allen Benton, a mental health counselor, suggests that it may have to do with police having decided not to go easy on women drivers. In the past, police may have felt more sympathetic toward and protective of women drivers, she suggests — but not anymore.Two women profiled in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger’s articles and videos said that their OUI arrests forced them to get help for their alcohol problems and get their lives together.

One in 12 American adults abuses alcohol or is alcohol-dependent, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol problems can develop over the course of decades, starting in adolescence, before anything serious enough to involve legal consequences happens. By that point, a chronic alcoholic may need serious medical and psychological treatment to manage the damage that has been done. Unfortunately, the legal penalties for drunk driving don’t necessarily mandate such treatment, even though it would go a long way toward making sure that such dangerous behavior doesn’t happen again. For a first-offense OUI, the alternative “24D” disposition sentence includes an alcohol education program. But otherwise, the offenders are on their own to solve any problems they have with alcohol.

Anyone charged with OUI should immediately contact a Massachusetts OUI defense attorney to help them maintain all their personal and legal options. If you have been charged with OUI, with the help of a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense lawyer, your case is much more likely to win a dismissal of charges or a not-guilty verdict. Then, if you are dealing with the psychological and physical effects of alcohol dependence, you can get help for it without also losing your freedom, your job, and your driver’s license.

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As a Massachusetts OUI defense attorney, I was interested in a story recently reported by several different news outlets in the Boston area. A grandmother arrested for drunk driving while taking her nine-year-old grandson to school last month was found in violation of her pre-trial probation conditions after she failed to remain alcohol-free. On March 18, Sharon Faulkner, 63, of Marblehead, was arrested at the Glover School after she dropped her grandson off. Faulkner’s grandson had endured a wild ride to get to school that day: Faulkner’s 2001 Toyota Camry jumped a curb and smashed into a tree hard enough to cause both airbags to deploy. Faulkner and her grandson were still 1.3 miles away from his school, so they began walking to it, and then she hitched a ride for them. An off-duty police officer discovered Faulkner’s abandoned car and had the police search for its operator.

Marblehead Police Department Chief Robert Picariello said that the police received a call tipping them off that the car belonged to Faulkner and she was at the school. When police caught up with her at the school, Faulkner failed field sobriety tests, and a Breathalyzer test showed her blood-alcohol concentration at 0.141, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08. She explained that the accident occurred when a gold SUV passed her, “causing me to go off the road,” even though she said she was driving only 20 miles per hour. Police interacted with the grandson and noticed a bump on his forehead, and the boy complained of minor chest pain. He was taken to North Shore Children’s Hospital for medical attention and was later released. Faulkner pleaded not guilty to third-offense OUI, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, wanton and reckless child endangerment, child endangerment while operating under the influence of liquor, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

After her release on bail, on March 25, a Breathalyzer test showed that she had violated the terms of her pre-trial probation by consuming alcohol. Consequently, in Lynn District Court, she was ordered held without bail for the duration of her court case.

Read article: Marblehead grandmom violates probation

Judging from the account of her crash in the press, Faulkner is going to need the help of a Massachusetts DUI criminal defense lawyer to ensure that she is treated fairly by the legal system. This will be a complex and serious case to defend, particularly since it involves a child and a third offense DUI charge. If Faulkner’s defense isn’t done with the utmost precision, she could wind up spending a lot more time in jail. A third-offense DUI is a felony carrying at least 150 mandatory days in jail, and the sentence can go as long as five years in state prison. You will also lose your license for eight years, with a hardship license available no sooner than four years, and face up to $15,000 in fines. Someone who is already unemployed and near retirement age, like Faulkner, could be financially devastated by having fines like this levied against her, and personally devastated by an extended stay in a correctional institution. Conviction on the child endangerment charges would add steeper penalties to the ones she already faces. A defendant like this should get help from an aggressive, experienced Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer right away.

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A man was charged with driving drunk for a third time after witnesses saw his car get stuck on train tracks, then drive off on the wrong side of the road. Tests showed that Donald K. Seiffert, 40, had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.30 or 0.29 shortly after he was pulled over on suspicion of OUI. A witness told police that Seiffert, an editor at The Enterprise of Brockton, drove onto train tracks in his home town of Braintree with a young child in the back. (Police later found that this was his six-year-old son.) As the witness watched, Seiffert shifted from drive to reverse for about five minutes before freeing the vehicle.

He proceeded down the wrong side of the road and was stopped by an officer, who said the car weaved into oncoming traffic several times before stopping. Seiffert claimed he had not been drinking, but didn’t know where he was. He looked in several places, including his mobile phone, when asked for his driver’s license, and produced an emissions test result when asked for his registration. The officer found a half-empty liter vodka bottle in the front seat. Seiffert has pleaded not guilty to charges of third-offense OUI, child endangerment and leaving a marked lane. The boy was released to his mother.

Read article: Police: Man arraigned for drunk driving with child in car

I hope this man gets help from a Massachusetts OUI criminal defense attorney as early as possible, because the charges he’s facing are very serious. A third drunk driving offense is a felony in Massachusetts, and it comes with a mandatory sentence of at least 150 days (five months) in jail, up to a maximum of five years in prison. Drivers convicted will also lose their licenses for eight years, with no hardship license available for four years. The fact that his son was in the car means Seiffert also faces a sentence enhancement for OUI with child endangerment. When a minor age 14 or younger was in the vehicle, drivers charged with OUI face an additional year of license suspension and a mandatory 90 days in jail. A conviction can also seriously damage the driver’s case in any child custody dispute. With so much at stake, drivers need the help of a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense lawyer to minimize the negative effects on their families, jobs and lives.

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State Senator Anthony Galluccio is headed to jail, the Boston Herald reported Jan. 4. Galluccio, a Democrat elected to represent Cambridge will serve a year in jail in connection with an Oct. 4 hit-and-run accident he admits to causing. That crash caused only minor injuries to a father and teenaged son, but Galluccio left the scene. He did not turn himself in until the next day, making it impossible to test him for alcohol, but he has two past OUIs (one pardoned) and a past accident. When Galluccio was sentenced for the hit-and-run, Judge Matthew Nestor gave him six months of home confinement with exceptions for Senate votes and church, on the condition that he not drink and submit to random alcohol testing. His driver’s license was also revoked for five years.

That sentence was handed down Dec. 18. On Dec. 21, a probation department employee came to install an alcohol-testing device called a Sobrietor in Galluccio’s home. Right after installation, the device detected alcohol on Galluccio’s breath. The senator said he hadn’t had any alcohol and suggested that sorbitol, an artificial sweeter in toothpaste, may have been the culprit. Despite testimony from an expert witness, Nestor said he believed Galluccio had been drinking. He revoked Galluccio’s probation and sent him to jail for a year. Senate President Therese Murray issued a statement suggesting that Galluccio will lose his job if he does not resign.

Read article: Embattled Galluccio gets 1 year in jail

Galluccio’s suggestion that toothpaste may have set off the Sobrietor is attracting ridicule in some circles. The Boston Herald even went so far as to test the theory, using a home breathalyzer kit. But Massachusetts OUI criminal defense lawyers already know that toothpaste, mouthwash and other alcohol-containing substances can give a false positive on a breathalyzer test, even though the person may in fact be sober. As the Herald’s test shows, taking a reading directly after brushing your teeth, sipping a beer, belching or more can produce high readings, which fall off dramatically in a few minutes. This is because of residual alcohol in the mouth. Breathalyzers are supposed to work by testing the alcohol in the air expelled from the person’s lungs, then using an equation to calculate BAC. Using the same equation for the much higher amount of mouth alcohol can produce a very high but temporary reading.

This is why law enforcement officers are supposed to observe the driver for 15 minutes before administering a breathalyzer — to ensure that enough time has passed since the last drink to avoid a false positive. Failure to do this, or to follow several other procedures, can make the evidence tainted or suspect. When this is the case, an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney will ask the judge to leave that evidence out of the case entirely. In effect, this substantially weakens the prosecution’s case, because without a BAC reading, it is much more difficult to prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

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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.

Read article: Suspect back on road for one day

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.

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A head-on accident hospitalized an elderly woman and left a former Weston police chief facing his third drunk driving charge. The MetroWest Daily News reported Dec. 1 that James McShane was charged with causing an accident Nov. 14 that left three members of the same family injured. John Aftandlian of Belmont said he was driving down Route 30 to visit family with his 82-year-old mother, Stella, and 13-year-old daughter, Lia, when McShane crossed the center line and hit their vehicle head-on. The crash left John and Lia Aftandlian with only minor injuries, but broke Stella Aftandlian’s arm, hand and tailbone and caused internal bleeding. She spent a week in the hospital.

McShane was arrested Nov. 14, arraigned and released without bail. The article did not mention his plea, but did say he will be back in court Dec. 28. The charge is his third OUI. He was chief of police in Weston between 1986 and 1996, but resigned from that post after crashing an unmarked police car into a pole in 1995. That crash, which took place off-duty, resulted in McShane’s first drunk driving charge.

Read article: Former Weston Police chief faces third OUI offense

As a Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, I hope McShane has already gotten the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer. In our state, a third OUI raises the stakes considerably, starting with the fact that a third OUI is a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Those convicted of a third intoxicated driving offense can expect at least five months in prison, and up to five years, along with an eight-year license suspension and steep fines. Nobody should face these life-altering penalties without support. Depending on the circumstances, an experienced attorney may be able to find many avenues of defense, including challenges to the evidence itself or its handling by law enforcement. Even if a guilty plea is truly the best option, an experienced Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer may still be able to negotiate lighter, fairer penalties that better reflect the circumstances behind the arrest.

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A newly released police report shows that state Senator Anthony Galluccio (D-Cambridge) may have been too drunk to drive in the early morning hours of the day he hit a family’s minivan and left the scene. The Boston Herald reported Nov. 17 that a gas station employee called the Cambridge police at around 4:40 a.m. on Oct. 4 to report a customer who was allegedly too drunk to drive. When police arrived, they found Galluccio with a friend who said he was trying to take Galluccio home, but couldn’t find his residence. Officers drove Galluccio home and helped him inside, but because there was no evidence that Galluccio was trying to drive, they did not charge him with any crime or file a police report.

In the evening of the same day, however, Galluccio hit a family’s vehicle and drove away without stopping. He came forward to take responsibility the next day, saying he panicked at the scene. He is not accused of drunk driving in that incident, but his two past OUIs and an accident in 2005 have led to speculation that he could have been intoxicated. As part of the investigation into the hit-and-run, the Cambridge police filed a report Oct. 29 on the escort they provided early on Oct. 4. Galluccio will be back in court Nov. 20 on the hit-and-run charge. The Cambridge police say the officers involved in the escort did nothing wrong, and that no police report is necessary in incidents resulting in no criminal charge. However, Massachusetts state Senate President Therese Murray has reportedly told Galluccio to get a driver.

Read articles: Cops: By the way, we gave Galluccio a lift; Galluccio, ‘too intoxicated to drive,’ driven home by Cambridge police day of hit-and-run

This new information has caused a small firestorm in Cambridge, creating speculation about Galluccio’s relationship with alcohol and second-guessing of the police department’s actions and policies. But as a Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, I’d like to point out that none of this new information implicates Galluccio for operating under the influence of alcohol. He may well have been drunk on the morning of Oct. 4, but as the Cambridge police pointed out, he was not observed trying to drive. The hit-and-run accident, in which he was clearly driving, happened about 13 hours later — more than enough time to sober up. As scientists say, correlation is not causation. If an investigation turns up new information showing that Galluccio was intoxicated at the time of the hit-and-run, OUI charges might be appropriate. But at the moment, any experienced Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer could defeat an OUI charge stemming from the events of Oct. 4.

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A 26-year-old Groveland, Massachusetts man was arrested on multiple charges after leading police agencies on a car chase in northeastern Massachusetts, the Georgetown Record reported Sept. 22. Scott Berube already had two outstanding warrants for operating under the influence of liquor, which the newspaper said were second and third offenses. Earlier on the day of the chase, he was also allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident. Around 10 p.m., a police officer spotted Berube at a Haverhill, Massachusetts gas station, gave chase and called for backup.

Once backup arrived, the officers tried to stop Berube by positioning their vehicles on either side of his. However, Berube drove directly at both officers, forcing them to jump out of the way. All in all, he drove through at least four towns before Georgetown, Massachusetts police were able to stop his vehicle with a device that punctured his tires. Berube fled on foot, leaving a passenger behind, but was caught with the help of a helicopter and K-9 unit. Police found several controlled substances in the crashed vehicle, including marijuana, Xanax, Percocet and acetaminophen with codeine. Both Berube and his passenger were charged with possession of those substances, with intent to distribute the marijuana and Xanax. Berube was also charged with DUI drugs, failure to stop for police, driving without a license and assaulting a police officer, among other charges, and the two outstanding warrants.

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Police arrest man after multi-town chase that ends in Georgetown

Second and third OUI charges may sound scary, but a smart, experienced Massachusetts DUI defense lawyer can find multiple avenues of defense, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, a charge of OUI drugs may be dropped if the defendant can show that he was not actually impaired, regardless of whether he took any drugs. But because Berube did not handle the earlier charges against him, he ended up fleeing the police and receiving a significant number of new charges. Now he will almost certainly need a good Massachusetts intoxicated driving lawyer to help sort through this tangle of charges and minimize the damage to his life and his family.

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On June 27th of this year Roger Kerkmann was driving his 1999 car in Littleton, Massachusetts. At around 11:30 p.m. he went through a stop sign, right in front of a police officer. The officer pulled him over. The officer asked Kerkmann to role down his window or open his door. He did not claiming that he could not. The officer went to the passenger side, opened the door and immediately smelled a strong odor of alcohol. Kerkmann supposedly failed certain field sobriety tests, had glassy eyes and slurred speech. He was charged with OUI. When officers learned that Kerkmann had been convicted of OUI in 1986 and 1999 charges of OUI, 3rd offense issued. The case is now pending in the Ayer District Court.

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3rd Offense OUI Charges Brought Against Massachusetts Man In Ayer District Court

If you get convicted of a 3rd Offense OUI in Massachusetts you will be sentenced to a minimum one hundred fifty days in the house of correction. You are facing steep fines and an eight year loss of license. A hardship license can be granted after four years. The strengths of the prosecution’s case here are as follows: running the stop sign, the strong odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, the slurred speech and the failed field sobriety tests. The weaknesses are the absence of a breathalyzer test, arguably the only objective measuring device in OUI cases. Subjective findings such as those referenced in this article are easy to attack. For instance, how does the officer know what the defendant’s eyes are like normally or how he speaks, with or without alcohol. Field sobriety tests are not easy to take in pressured situations such as this, i.e. at night with the officer’s lights in your face, on the side of a road with passing traffic and after essentially being accused of operating while impaired. A good criminal defense laywer will be able to convince a jury of this fact and get it to understand that the officer’s observations might not be indicative in OUI. Trying OUI cases in Massachusetts are much easier in cases where there is no breathalyzer reading.

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