A young man from Weston was charged with operating under the influence with serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving after hitting a Boston College senior and driving away. The Boston Globe reported Dec. 8 that Benjamin Knott, 18, is accused of striking 21-year-old Bethany Pfalzgraf of Londonderry, NH as she crossed a street on campus at around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 6. Pfalzgraf was initially hospitalized in serious condition, but had her condition upgraded to good Dec. 7. Knott reportedly drove away from the crash and stopped in a parking lot, where campus police found him examining the damage to his vehicle. He told the Massachusetts State Police that he had a few drinks while visiting a friend on campus, and provided two breath samples that measured his blood-alcohol concentration at 0.18 and 0.2, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Read article: Teenager charged with DUI after BC student is hit
Knott faces unrelated negligent boating charges from New Hampshire, stemming from an August incident in which alcohol was reportedly not a factor. Nonetheless, media reports about this accident continue to mention those charges, which concerns me as a Massachusetts drunk driving criminal defense attorney. The two incidents together may show that Knott has made bad decisions while operating a vehicle, but they don’t show a history of intoxicated driving and boating. To imply otherwise is irresponsible and against the spirit of our criminal justice system’s presumption of innocence.
This is not to say that the charges against Knott aren’t serious. Even a first OUI in Massachusetts with serious bodily injury means a minimum of six months in jail and up to 10 years in prison; $500 to $5,000 in fines; and several hundred more in fees. Because Knott is under the age of 21, he also faces a three-year driver’s license suspension, instead of the two-year suspension for drivers over 21 accused of the same violation. And if he is convicted of this charge and then charged with OUI again later in life, his penalties will likely be more severe. Knott has pleaded not guilty and retained a Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer, so it seems that he intends to defend the charges. Under these circumstances, that seems like a wise decision.
If you’re charged with intoxicated driving anywhere in eastern Massachusetts, don’t hesitate to call the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman for help. Based in downtown Boston, our office defends clients facing all types of OUI-related charges, including administrative license suspensions from the RMV. To learn more, you can contact our office for a consultation by sending a message though our Web site or call (617) 263-6800.