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Massachusetts State Police Sobriety Checkpoint Planned For Thursday, May 23 through Friday, May 24 in Suffolk County

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Massachusetts State Police have announced that they will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint at an undisclosed location  in Suffolk County beginning Thursday night and continuing through early Friday morning. Suffolk County consists of all the neighborhoods of Boston, Chelsea, and Revere. Here is a map to view these areas. The police are only required to provide advance notice of which county the sobriety checkpoint will be located, not the city or town. In its press release, Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police said, “The selection of vehicles will not be arbitrary, safety will be assured, and any inconveniences to motorists will be minimized with advance notice to reduce fear and anxiety.” Typically, the police briefly stop every vehicle that enters the roadblock.  If the driver exhibits signs of alcohol or drug use, then they are sent over to a secondary area for further screening.  This “screening area” is where the next group of police are located, and their job is to administer field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests to operators who are suspected of operating under the influence. If you are interested in ways to protect yourself, the easiest advice is not to drive after consuming alcohol.  Short of this, watch as attorney Steven Brooks explains why you should or shouldn’t take a Breathalyzer if you are pulled over for a DUI. If you are arrested for a DUI, contact Brooks & Crowley LLP and speak with an experienced DUI attorney.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Supreme Court of The United States Rules on Warrantless Blood Testing in DUI Case

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court on warrantless blood tests in cases of suspected DUI charges in Missouri v McNeely.   The post may be read here. On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision and held that taking and testing a driver’s blood without a warrant was a violation of federal law. In the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that, although individuals have a lower expectation of privacy while they are in their vehicles,  even in this setting people have a  high expectation of privacy from having their skin pierced.  The Court relied on the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule, and decided that the blood test evidence was inadmissible against the defendant. The Supreme Court was not persuaded by the government’s argument that, since alcohol dissipates from the blood quickly, warrantless blood testing is justified under the so-called exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement. In Massachusetts, you always have the option to refuse to submit to a blood test or breath test.  Watch Attorney Steven Brooks discuss your options here. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact Brooks and Crowley LLP to speak with an experienced DUI attorney today.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

KFC DUI

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
A Quincy man, Paul Robert Phinney, Jr., 27, was arrested for driving under the influence after harassing employees at a KFC drive-through on February 12, 2013. The supervisor of the KFC on Hancock Street where the incident took place told police that because of the blizzard the weekend before some of their food products had not be delivered. He had tried to explain this Phinney.  When Phinney couldn’t have his order filled he became agitated and was verbally abusive to the employees, yelling racial epithets at them. Police arrived on scene and noticed that Phinney’s eyes were bloodshot, and that his speech was slurred. They also smelled alcohol on him. Phinney refused to take any sobriety tests but police noted that once he got out of his car that he was unsteady on his feet. Read the full story here. If you or anyone you know is arrested for driving under the influence, contact Brooks & Crowley. Let one of our experienced DUI lawyers protect you.  

Contributed by Laura  Martin

United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments for Warrantless Blood Tests in DUI Cases

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
In October,  2010, a police officer took a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol to a hospital. While handcuffed; a physician drew the person’s blood for a chemical test without  his consent and without a warrant.  The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the decision to suppress the evidence. This decision has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that before an otherwise unreasonable search can be executed on a person or their effects, a warrant be obtained from a neutral magistrate.  The issue before the Court is whether drawing blood from a suspect upon suspicion of driving under the influence (“DUI”) without a warrant, and not for medical treatment, is reasonable under the constitution On January 9, 2013 the Court heard arguments from both the state of Missouri and the defendant’s lawyers. All briefs and petitions filed on the case can be read here. The justices expressed concern for an automatic exception to the warrant requirement where the search is invasive like drawing blood.  They also showed concern for evidence being destroyed while a police officer waits to obtain a warrant.  No decision has yet been issued. Massachusetts’ law does not permit drawing blood without consent unless the suspect is receiving medical treatment.  However, this Supreme Court decision may change the way that Massachusetts interprets current law.  For more information about protection against a DUI charge, watch Attorney Brooks give his advice and contact Brooks & Crowley to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney.  

Contributed by Laura  Martin

Red Sox’s Drake Britton Arrested in Ft. Myers for DUI

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, March 30, 2013
At 4:42 a.m. March 2, on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in Estero, Drake Britton of the Boston Red Sox led Florida police on a chase that ended in his arrest for charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and property damage. Britton was driving at 111 mph jumped a curb, crashed into a fence and when he finally stopped his car, he handed police his debit card instead of his license. This 23-year-old pitcher is in his first big league camp this year. The team had intended to start him on Sunday; he has now been optioned out to Portland Double-A. The “Baseball DUI Problem” was also an issue during spring training last year when Bobbie Jenks was arrested for DUI. The Red Sox team manger, John Farrell said this is an issue that the team takes very seriously.  He reports that prevention of these events is part of the ongoing education of every player on the team.  Read the full story on ESPN here. Britton is lucky; no one was hurt by this incident except his perhaps his young baseball career. If you are arrested for Driving while under the influence, contact Brooks & Crowley.  

Contributed by Laura Martin

Jacksonville Jaguar Pleads Guilty to Drunk Driving

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 27, 2012
The Jacksonville Jaguars draft, Justin Blackmon pled guilty to a drunk driving charge in Oklahoma in a deal to avoid jail time.  He was arrested at a traffic stop where his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. His punishment was a $500 dollar fine and a deferred sentence of one year, meaning he will serve no jail time if he fulfills the terms of his sentence.  He is also required to complete 50 hours of community service.

FIRST OFFENSE DUI

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 27, 2012
New York Knicks star, Jason Kidd was arrested for drunk driving after crashing his SUV into a telephone pole in the Hamptons.  He was released without bail after being arraigned on a drunk driving misdemeanor charge.  See full story here. In Massachusetts, a first offense for OUI/DUI has a penalty of not more than 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, a fine between $500 and $5000, and a license suspension for one year.  The alternative disposition for a first offense DUI is pleading to a continuance without a finding, unsupervised probation for one year, participation in a 16 week alcohol/drug education program paid for by defendant, and a license suspension for 45-90 days, and for 210 days for drivers under the age of 21. A DUI is a serious offense.  If you are facing a DUI or OUI, you need an experienced attorney to help defend your case.  Contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley to obtain the legal expertise you need.

BREATHALYZER TESTS & PROPER PROCEDURE

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 09, 2012
In a recent case, Kasper v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the RMV properly revoked Kasper’s license after he was stopped for drunk driving back in 2010. When the incident occurred, Kasper took the breathalyzer test once, registering at .18 percent, which is above the legal BAC of .08 percent.  After being given the test five more times, he still had not provided a valid sample, leading to the conclusion that Kasper had refused to provide the second sample, as he could not provide a reason why only the first test is valid. Massachusetts regulations provide that a driver must produce two adequate breath samples, and a failure to comply will be “noted as a refusal.”  501 Code Mass. Regs. § 2.16.  Additionally, the burden rests on the driver to show that he did not refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test.  540 Code Mass. Regs. § 11.02(5)(b) (1996). The case is notable because the Supreme Judicial Court clarified the avenue of appeal where a driver has allegedly refused a chemical test:  following a hearing with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the driver who does not prevail must file a a petition for certiorari to the Superior Court, not the district court where the DUI case is pending. If you have had your license revoked based on a breathalyzer refusal, the procedure may have been improper.  Contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and we can offer you over 30 years of legal expertise to defend your case.

9 ARRESTED IN NORWOOD AT SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 06, 2012
Nine individuals were arrested at a recent sobriety checkpoint in Norwood, MA. Sobriety checkpoints are places where officials stop every vehicle, or every “x” vehicle on a public road to check and see if the driver is too impaired to drive.  In Massachusetts, checkpoints are conducted year round and have been upheld under both the state and federal constitutions. The purpose of sobriety checkpoints and roadblocks are to deter drunk driving, but studies show that the effectiveness is questionable. If you have been stopped at a sobriety checkpoint for DUI, contact the attorneys at Brooks & Crowley and we can assist you with the complex legal issues, including the constitutionality and the procedure used by officials that surround this type of DUI case.

WOMAN GETS 2ND DUI CHARGE AFTER DRIVING ON 3 TIRES

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 03, 2012
A Salem woman, determined to find cat food was spotted driving on only three tires and without headlights.    The woman had been involved with a hit and run in Beverly, and was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, a second offense.  Later that night she was again spotted in the Beverly area, where an officer pulled her over and she was then arrested and charged again with driving under the influence (still a second offense because there has been no conviction from the first arrest).  Full story here. DUI charges are serious.  In MA, a second offense penalty results in jail for not less than 60 days and not more than 2 ½ years, a fine between $600 and $10,000 dollars, a license suspension for 2 years, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.   The alternative disposition is 2 years probation, a 14 day inpatient alcohol program paid for the defendant, a 2 year license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock device. If you are facing DUI charges, contact the law offices of Brooks & Crowley to talk to experienced attorneys that can help defend your case.

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