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.
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.