Articles Posted in Melanie’s Law

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Last Sunday night Marueen Fogwell was arrested in Massachusetts for OUI. A cell phone caller reported that Fogwell was driving erratically on Route 95. She failed some field sobriety tests and blew a .125 on a portable breathalyzer. She later blew a .10 and a .15 on a breathalyzer back at the police station. Pursuant to Massachusetts law Fogwell’s operating privileges were immediately revoked for thirty days.

Fogwell was arraigned early in the week in the Salem District Court. The judge learned that the police forgot to take her license when she was arrested and she was ordered to surrender it in court. She did and was reminded that she could not drive in Massachusetts until the Registry of Motor Vehicles restored her operating privileges. What the judge did not know was that Fogwell drove herself to court that day. However, when she left the courthouse a court officer saw her drive away and called the police. She was arrested, brought back into court and ordered held for sixty days in the house of correction or until her at least until her case is resolved.

Woman Arraigned On DUI Charge Caught Driving From Courthouse On Suspended License

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 23 makes it a crime for anyone who has a license suspended for OUI to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension. The sentence is sixty days in the house of correction if convicted of this crime. It is very difficult to defend someone accused of this crime. You would have to show either that the person was not driving the vehicle or that there was an affirmative defense to this crime such as necessity. Given the facts set out in this article it is unlikely that either of these defenses is available to this defendant.

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Malden, Massachusetts resident Bernard Shidlow pleaded guilty to several offenses last week one of which was his fourth OUI charge. The alcohol related charges were operating under the influence, fourth offense, operating a motor vehicle with a license that was suspended for DUI, leaving the scene after an accident with property damage and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to three years in state prison for the fourth offense drunk driving and to one year in state prison to be served from and after on the operating on a suspended license for drunk driving.

It was reported that Shidlow was driving 70 mph in a 50 mph zone. A state trooper pursued Shidlow after which the defendant got into an accident with another car. He then tried to avoid apprehension but was caught after driving to the end of a one way street. Police discovered that his license had been suspended for another DUI.

Fourth Offense DUI Results In Four Year Sentence For Massachusetts Man

This case was prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court. While not all fourth offense DUI cases are indicted it is easy to see why the district attorney made the decision in this case. The prosecution undoubtedly believed that Shidlow needed to spend time in state prison. The crime of OUI with a license suspended for another OUI is a part of Melanie’s Law. This crime carries a one year mandatory jail sentence. The fourth offense OUI carries another mandatory one year jail sentence. Apparently the judge in this case believed that a one or two year house of correction sentence was warranted. You can bet that the accident and the defendant’s flight from the scene impacted this decision.

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