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Salem Court Holds Driver Without Bail for Fifth Drunk Driving Charge

A Marblehead man was charged with his fifth OUI, among other things, and held without bail in Salem. The Daily Item of Lynn reported Nov. 5 that Melvin McKenzie, 50, was arraigned Nov. 4 for charges stemming from a traffic stop in July. Police said McKenzie was stopped in Marblehead for speeding and leaving a marked lane. After the stop, an officer noticed a smell of alcohol and found a pint of vodka in his lunch box. The officer also found that McKenzie was driving with a suspended license, and was on probation for a previous drunk driving conviction. He was charged with a fifth OUI, OUI after license suspension, negligent driving and reckless driving and pleaded not guilty to all charges. After a dangerousness hearing, the judge in the case found that McKenzie couldn’t safely be released and ordered him held 90 days without bail. His trial is set for Dec. 14.

Read article: Marblehead driver held on 5th DUI

As a Massachusetts OUI defense attorney, I am glad that this defendant has retained legal counsel to defend him from the very serious charges he faces. A fifth OUI carries mandatory prison time and the lifetime loss of the driver’s license, as well as very steep fines. That’s true even in cases like this one, where there was no accident and nobody was harmed by the alleged drunk driving. When the stakes are this high, defendants should take advantage of every defense they have — which is significantly easier with an attorney by their sides.

I would also like to take the opportunity to highlight the use of a dangerousness hearing in this case. A dangerousness hearing is essentially a hearing on whether the defendant should be granted any bail at all, or simply kept in jail. It can be used in any type of Massachusetts criminal case. Relative to OUI cases, this statute is used primarily for cases where the defendant has four or more previous convictions or where a subsequent offender has caused serious injury. As it relates to dangerousness hearings, in drunk driving cases, the prosecution’s goal is to prove that the defendant is likely to drive drunk again. If you’re facing a dangerousness hearing, you’re facing the loss of your freedom before any trial or conviction can take place. The importance of retaining an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer in this situation cannot be overstated.

Based in downtown Boston, the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman represents clients throughout greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts. If you are facing an OUI charge or related charges in Massachusetts, don’t wait to call and learn how our office can help. To set up a consultation, please send a message online or call (617) 263-6800 today.

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