Braintree police plan to charge a Holbrook, Massachusetts man with operating under the influence of alcohol and failure to stay in marked lanes, the Holbrook Sun reported Sept. 8. The charges stem from a crash in which the unnamed 36-year-old man hit another car Sept. 3. According to a spokesman for the Braintree police, the man allegedly drifted out of his lane and hit the driver’s side of a car traveling in the opposite direction, before stopping on the sidewalk and a nearby lawn. The driver who was hit, a 48-year-old man from Fall River, and his three child passengers were not seriously hurt. However, the Holbrook man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening cuts to the head.
Charges against Holbrook man sought in traffic crash
The Holbrook man is lucky that nobody was seriously hurt in this accident. As a Massachusetts DUI defense attorney, I believe the penalties for drunk driving in Massachusetts are severe, but they get much more severe when the charge is increased to OUI with serious bodily injury. (A serious bodily injury creates a substantial risk of death, leaves the victim permanent disabled or robs the victim of a bodily function for a substantial period of time.) On a first offense, people charged with intoxicated driving may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 2 1/2 years, but with the help of an experienced Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer, most offenders have a good chance of getting probation instead through alternative disposition. By contrast, 2 1/2 years in prison, six months of which must be served, is the minimum penalty for a conviction for drunk driving with serious bodily injury. And in cases like this one, in which children are victims, juries are generally not kind to defendants.
However, because the injuries in this case were only minor, the Holbrook man may have strong defenses available. The article does not specify whether the man’s blood-alcohol content was tested. If it was not tested, the charge may be based solely on the officer’s statement that the man had alcohol on his breath. As I have written here in the past, that statement is in nearly every DUI-related police report in the state. A good Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney should point that out to a jury and explain that a smell of alcohol does not, by itself, meet the standards for an operating under the influence charge in our state — a blood-alcohol content of 0.08%.
If you are charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts, you should never plead guilty before you understand all of your options. To learn more and discuss how you can fight the charges, please contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman through our Web site or call (617) 263-6800.