Articles Posted in Child Endangerment OUI

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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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As a Massachusetts OUI criminal defense attorney, my attention was caught by a story about a Peabody woman charged with second offense-drunk driving and two counts of child endangerment. According to The Salem News, bystanders saw the woman order her 11-year-old son out of her car and drive away, leaving him behind. She later returned to find police waiting for her, along with her son. According to a police report, bystanders saw Cheri Cordero, 40, tell her 11-year-old son to get out of her 2008 Cadillac Escalade near an intersection in Salem, and then drive away. He told the bystanders that his mother had been drinking, and that his 9-year-old brother was still in the car.

The bystanders called the police, and when they arrived, the boy told them that his mother had been drinking at a party on a friend’s boat. As they left the party, her boyfriend called and they got into an argument over the phone. Agitated, she began yelling at her sons, the boy said, and that was when she told the older boy to get out of the car and drove away. Some time later, just before 9 p.m., Cordero returned to where she had dropped him off. Police officers arrived at about the same time and noted that Cordero’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy and that she was slurring her words and smelled of alcohol. She said she had not been drinking, and that her kids were upset because they didn’t want to leave the party. She failed two unspecified field sobriety tests. She refused a breathalyzer test at the police station, so police seized her driver’s license and contacted the Department of Children and Families.

Read article: Peabody woman faces charges for drunk driving, child endangerment

Leaving an 11-year-old child to fend for himself on a street corner is clearly not the best choice for a parent to make, even when that parent intends to come right back. But Cordero’s behavior as a parent should not predetermine the outcome of her drunk driving charge. I hope that she will protect her own and her children’s future by contacting an experienced Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense attorney to ensure that she is treated fairly as her case goes through the legal system.

It’s important to note that since there is no breath test, the evidence against Cordero is all based on subjective observations made by police officers, such as field sobriety tests. Last week, I discussed the problems with field sobriety tests, and how easy it is to wrongly label someone as intoxicated based only on those tests. Cordero was most likely very upset at the time that she performed the field sobriety tests, so her performance on them could have been impaired by her emotional state even if she had not been drinking. It could also be that the police officers’ judgments about her mothering affected how they saw the field sobriety tests, too. Cordero never took a Breathalyzer, so there is no objective evidence of her blood-alcohol content — only observations of notoriously unreliable field sobriety tests and personal observations of her appearance and behavior.

Refusing a breathalyzer test comes with its own penalty: loss of driver’s license for 180 days for a first OUI, or three years for a second-offense OUI. Those who lose their license for refusal of the test can appeal the suspension with the RMV within 15 days. If their drunk driving case is resolved in their favor, they are entitled to a court hearing to get their license back as well. But this hearing is not automatic, which is why Cordero or anyone else facing OUI charges involving field sobriety tests should contact a Massachusetts drunk driving criminal defense lawyer who can challenge unreliable field sobriety tests.

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In April, I wrote about the case of a Marblehead grandmother arrested for drunk driving while taking her nine-year-old grandson to school. An update on the outcome of her case caught my attention because it reminded me, as a Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, of how people convicted of OUI can face vastly different penalties for the same crime.

Sharon Faulkner, 63, of Marblehead, was found guilty at a bench trial in Lynn District court of second-offense OUI and leaving the scene of an accident. She pleaded guilty to child endangerment while operating under the influence and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. For these charges, Faulkner will spend a full year in a state house of correction. She will serve half of that time toward the OUI charge’s sentence of two and a half years. The remaining two years are suspended with supervised probation, and during that time, she will not be permitted to drive. The other half of the sentence represents her sentence for child endangerment while operating under the influence. Faulkner is also required to undergo a 14-day inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program, along with random tests to ensure that she remains drug- and alcohol-free, as ordered by the judge. Her home will be equipped with a Sobrietor, a machine that allows probation officers to test by phone whether she is sober.

Read article: Marblehead grandmother faces a year behind bars

Compare Faulkner’s sentence to that of Carrie Featherstone, about whom I wrote last year. Featherstone, like Faulkner, pleaded guilty in Gloucester District Court to second-offense DUI, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and child endangerment. But Featherstone emerged with a much lighter sentence: a two-year loss of license, a 90-day suspended sentence, two years of probation, court costs and completion of the alcohol education program. Featherstone was able to avoid jail time, even though state law requires at least thirty days to be served in jail for a second-offense OUI. Most likely, this was because if the first offense OUI conviction is at least ten years old, the judge can opt for the “24D” alternative disposition, or in Featherstone’s case, a combination of 24D penalties and regular penalties.

Faulkner’s earlier OUI offense was more than ten years old too. She may have been sentenced more harshly because her probation had already been revoked for failure to stay sober, but it’s striking that where one person can receive no jail time at all, another can be sentenced to serve a full year for similar charges. This case shows that Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer’s results can differ dramatically from case to case. Many things factor into the ultimate result that are not disclosed in newspaper articles. When looking to hire a Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer, make sure that if you are comparing results you do so with full knowledge of the facts and circumstances of each case. The published result does not necessarily show the quality of lawyering that a defendant received.

Massachusetts law sets out serious penalties for those convicted of a second DUI. In addition to those mentioned above, there are fines and fees ranging from more than $600 to more than $10,000; loss of driver’s license for two years, including at least one year without eligibility for a hardship license; and negative consequences for work, family and auto insurance rates. With so much to lose, drivers facing a second drunk driving charge should not delay in contacting a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense attorney to help them.

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As a Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, I took note of a recent story about a Framingham man, Ronival Pires, charged with negligent endangerment of a child, driving under the influence of liquor and driving without a license. According to Boston’s Fox 25 News, someone at a Tedeschi’s convenience store in Framingham called police about a young child alone in a parked car. Police arrived and found the vehicle pulling out of the parking lot. They stopped the car and found Pires, age 30, driving with his two-year-old daughter in the back seat with no car seat, sitting next to a 30-pack of beer. Police administered several field sobriety tests to Pires, all of which he failed. He said he had not been drinking, but police noted a smell of alcohol on his breath. Pires was arrested and later was arraigned in Framingham District Court. He pled not guilty and was released without bail ahead of his scheduled July 9 pretrial conference. The daughter was released into her mother’s custody.

Read article: Framingham man charged with OUI, child endangerment.

From my experience as a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense attorney, I know that people often get emotional when they are told that a child was endangered. This can cause problems for people who have been charged with OUI child endangerment, because juries may react to the child endangerment charge when deciding on the suspect’s guilt on other matters, like the OUI itself. This is why defendants like Pires should have an aggressive, experienced attorney to protect their rights in a court of law. An experienced attorney can move to exclude child endangerment charges and similar prejudicial matters from evidence.

In this case, a lawyer might also move to exclude any mention of the field sobriety tests, which are well known to be unreliable. In order to be admissible in court, field sobriety tests must be performed exactly according to the standards set out by Massachusetts case law and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even when they are, the tests are easy for stone-cold sober people to fail, making them an unfair basis for convicting someone of a crime. If these tests are the only charges against him, Pires may well be able to get the charges against him dismissed or to get a not-guilty verdict. But to get the best possible chance, he and others like him definitely need professional legal expertise to protect his rights.

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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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Police say a 52-year-old man caused an injury accident Jan. 16 by driving under the influence of powerful painkillers. Joseph Kaizer is accused of hitting a mother and her 14-year-old son, who were crossing the street after leaving a relative’s funeral mass. The young man was treated for two broken wrist bones and a knee injury and released, but his mother was hospitalized overnight with unspecified injuries. Kaizer, who had his 11-year-old daughter in the vehicle, admitted to crushing and injecting methadone in the past, but denied having done it that day. Nonetheless, police observed track marks on his arms and legs. Police searching his car found two empty bottles of methadone and 23 pills of clonazepam, a muscle relaxant, along with 23 needles and two spoons with residue.

Kaizer was arrested for OUI drugs, OUI with serious bodily injury, failure to slow for pedestrians, negligent driving and child endangerment, for OUI with his daughter in the car. She was picked up at the scene by her mother. Police also asked the RMV to immediately revoke Kaizer’s license as an “immediate threat.”

Read article: Driver allegedly high on painkillers hits mother, son

Kaizer is not accused of drinking alcohol, a fact that could actually help a Massachusetts OUI criminal defense attorney defend his case. In cases of operating under the influence of alcohol, police can make a case based on the results of a BAC, regardless of other circumstances. Any amount of a drug in your blood is enough for an OUI drugs charge — but only if Massachusetts law makes it illegal to take the drugs in question before driving. The law specifically lists which drugs are illegal, but not every sedative, sleep aid or other drug police might frown on is on that list. If the drugs Kaizer is accused of taking are not on the list, an experienced Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense lawyer can make a strong case that the charges must be dropped. This is assuming that police even took a blood test showing Kaizer had the drugs in his system, something the article didn’t mention. You must remember that the prosecutor must still prove impairment caused by the drug, not just the existence of the drug in your system.

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Around three o’clock yesterday afternoon Massachusetts State Police received several calls from drivers stating that a woman was driving erratically and had a child in her car. A state trooper heard the dispatch and observed a vehicle being operated by Cindy Abkarian weaving back and forth between lanes. The car was pulled over and the trooper observed the defendant’s daughter sitting in the passenger seat unbuckled. Abkarian admitted to having used methadone and Klonopin prior to operating her vehicle. Abkarian failed the Field Sobriety Tests and admitted to having a substance abuse problem. She was arrested and charged with OUI Drugs, Possession of Class C, Child Endangerment and related Motor Vehicle Crimes in the Salem District Court.

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Massachusetts Charges Woman WithTaking Pills And Driving With Her Two Year Old Child Unrestrained

My experience tells me that this case is not going to trial. Several factors suggest that the defendant in this case will plead guilty. Independent cell phone callers witnessing Abkarian’s erratic operation, the trooper making a similar observation, her admission to using drugs when driving, the presence of drugs in plain view when she was stopped, the failed field sobriety tests and the unbuckled toddler all suggest that Abkarian should plead guilty. With a good lawyer she will likely get probation and perhaps some enhanced drug abuse treatment.

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Last week Stacie Desper, an Attleboro, Massachusetts resident supposedly drove her car into another lane of travel and struck a tree head on. This happened at 11:45 in the morning. Along for the ride were her children, ages three and ten months. Luckily, everyone was okay. Police responded to the scene. Desper assented to taking a breathalyzer test. She blew a .26, over three times the legal limit in Massachusetts. She has been charged with OUI and OUI Child Endangerment in the Attleboro District Court. Bail was set at two thousand five hundred dollars.

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Child Endangerment, DUI Charges For Massachusetts Mother

Apparently this is a first offense DUI for Desper. As such, even though the Child Endangerment OUI statute is implicated it is unlikely that Desper will have to serve a jail sentence. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24V makes operating with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher with a child ages fourteen or younger in the car a misdemeanor punishable by up to two and one half years jail for first time offenders. If convicted of a second offense the punishment is a minimum mandatory six months in the house of correction. Second offenses are also felonies.

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On March 29, 2009 at 2:20 a.m. Stephen Lucas was found passed out behind the wheel of his minivan. His nine year old son was asleep in the seat beside him. When the police awakened him Lucas told them “he was just having some fun with his kid”. A half empty whiskey bottle was found inside the car also. Lucas was charged with OUI Child Endangerment, Driving to Endanger and OUI Second Offense. He pleaded guilty and received a two year suspended jail sentence on the child endangerment and driving to endanger. The second offense DUI was continued without a finding. The first offense OUI was twenty four years old.

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No Jail Time For Massachusetts Man Convicted of Child Endangerment, Second Offense OUI

The penalties for second offense OUI in Massachusetts are sixty days in jail, thirty of which are mandatory. There are fines, court costs and a loss of license associated with a conviction for this crime also. The sentence imposed cannot be under the minimum mandatory thus tying a judge’s hands in the event he or she does not feel that a jail sentence is appropriate. There is an exception to this rule that the judge in this case embraced. If the first conviction is ten years old or older the second offense can be treated as a first offense and the case can be continued without a finding along with the imposition of the alternative “24D” disposition. Child endangerment requires the imposition of a ninety day house of correction sentence. Even though the sentence can be suspended the person will have a misdemeanor record if convicted of this crime.

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