The Gloucester Daily Times reported that two days ago Mark Hargrave, 55 of Hamilton, Massachusetts was arrested and charged with Second Offense OUI after being pulled over on Route 128 Southbound. Hargrave was also charged with failing to stay within marked lanes and Failure to Stop for a Police Officer. The case is now pending in the Salem District Court.
While there is a tremendous amount of detail missing from this article there may be a silver lining for Hargrave’s case. If he refused to take the Field Sobriety Tests and if he refused to take the Breathalyzer Test then the only case against him is likely the police officer’s observations. Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers are able to quickly educate jurors about the commonality of police officers’ testimonies in cases like this one. The officer will offer the following at trial: 1) that he observed the defendant operating his vehicle in an erratic manner; 2) that when he made the stop of the driver he smelled the odor of alcohol on his breath; 3) the he did not properly respond to the officer’s commands; 4) that he appeared unsteady on his feet; 5) that his speech was slurred and 6) that his eyes were red and bloodshot. The defense attorney will show the jury how these subjective observations are common to all officer stops. Almost every OUI police report that I have seen reports this same pattern of detail for the “run of the mill” drunk driving case. This testimony is impeachable and jurors immediately see the doubt in the prosecutor’s case. If Hargrave was not impaired he will produce witnesses with whom he was with prior to the arrest and whom he contacted after the arrest to vouch for his sobriety. Cases like this one are usually very triable.