Police officers in Dedham, Massachusetts say they saw an unusually high number of arrests for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the Daily News Transcript reported Sept. 15. An officer said the police made three different OUI arrests in one night last weekend, including one involving a Stoughton, Massachusetts woman who was found sleeping in her vehicle. A motorist called the police around 6 a.m. to report seeing a beer bottle thrown from a Jeep parked in the road. The responding officer found the Jeep parked but running with its headlights on. A beer bottle was under the driver’s side door.
The driver, Kelly St. Martin, and her passenger, a 25-year-old man from Dedham, appeared to be sleeping. St. Martin reacted to the officer’s first two attempts to get her attention by lifting her head and then slumping over again. After the officer knocked on the door for about 30 seconds, she opened the door. She turned the vehicle off, handed the keys to the officer and said she was not driving. The officer put her through field sobriety tests, on which she did poorly, and observed a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. She was arrested and charged with OUI liquor, and pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Monday.
Read article: Cops cope with rash of OUIs
Many of my clients as a Massachusetts DUI defense attorney are surprised to find that they can be charged with drunk driving even if the vehicle was not actually moving, as in this case. In fact, law enforcement officers in Massachusetts do not need to show that the defendant was driving to make an arrest. State law prohibits “operat[ing] a motor vehicle… under the influence of intoxicating liquor…” or drugs — and officers may decide that “operating” means having the keys in the ignition. However, if the case goes to trial, a jury will have the final say on whether the defendant truly was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, as the law requires. Experienced Massachusetts OUI defense lawyers have been able to secure not guilty verdicts for people in this situation, allowing them to avoid the severe penalties of a Massachusetts drunk driving conviction.
If you were charged with intoxicated driving in Massachusetts, you don’t have to plead guilty just because the police say you’re guilty. Instead, you should talk to the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman about your rights and your legal options for defending yourself. To arrange a consultation, you can contact us through our Web site or call (617) 263-6800.