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.
If you’re facing intoxicated driving charges in greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts, don’t plead guilty before speaking to the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman. Even if you believe the case against you is strong, attorney Neyman may be able to find weaknesses and flaws, or negotiate a lighter penalty than you could on your own. For a consultation, please call (617) 263-6800 or send a message through our Web site.