Just the other day I got a call from someone looking for an OUI lawyer. The man was extremely upset. He told me that the night before he was arrested for a second offense drunk driving. I asked him what happened and he proceeded to recite a sequence of events that was shocking yet not entirely out of the ordinary. It involved a police officer who has a blatant disregard for justice and for the truth. This post discusses his story, why this happened and ways that this case can be defended.
The Events Leading Up To The Arrest
He had been at a friend’s house watching a golf tournament. He has not been drinking at all. He left to go home around 8:00 p.m., not long after the tournament had ended. He was talking on his cell phone. He dropped the phone and bent over to pick it up. When he did he swerved into oncoming traffic and nearly got into an accident. He was almost immediately pulled over by a police officer who was traveling just a few car lengths behind him. The officer asked for his license and registration. He produced it. The officer told him that he had just swerved over center marked lanes. The officer then went back to his cruiser with the license and registration in hand. When he returned he asked the man if he had been drinking. The officer told him to get out of the car. He did. He was again asked if he had been drinking. He said no. He was then arrested and charged with OUI second. There is more. The police report referred to the man taking and failing field sobriety tests that were never administered.
How Did This Happen?
The answer to this is pretty simple and it explains the police officer’s actions. When the officer took the license and registration back to his cruiser he called in the information on those items. Back at the station certain records were obtained. Either a criminal history check, a registry check or both were run. And guess what the cop found out? That’s right. He found out that the person he just stopped had an OUI conviction. Right then he made up his mind to make and arrest and charge the man with OUI second. This is terrible and unfortunately not an isolated circumstance.
How Can This Be Defended?
There are several things that can be done. 1) Access dispatch records. These will show when the officer called in the stop, when he called in the license and registration information and when he called in the arrest. The times reflected in these records might not support the supposed administration of field sobriety tests. 2) Check the area for security equipment. If available this might show that no field sobriety tests were given. 3) Remember why this man swerved? It was because he dropped his cell phone. You know what else happened, the person on the other line remained there until the time of the arrest. He or she will be able to testify to what was said. The cell phone records will show the duration of the call corroborating the defendant’s story. 4) The friend who the man was with watching the golf tournament will testify that he was not drinking at all.
Massachusetts OUI Defense
So what really happened here? The cop was lazy. He assumed that since the suspect had a prior he was driving drunk again. The cop lied. He wrote in his report that the defendant smelled like alcohol. He wrote about field sobriety tests never given. He talked about the defendant unable to answer questions and having slurred speech. These conversations never occurred and his speech was fine. Cases like this one deserve a defense. We have been doing this for nearly thirty years and we look forward to defending this case.