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OPERATOR BEWARE

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 01, 2012
A 69 year old man was pulled over after driving his tractor on the sidewalks and streets of a Wisconsin town.  The man’s blood alcohol content was over 2 ½ times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.  This was his fourth drunk driving charge.  DUI’s can occur when you are operating vehicles other than cars, trucks, and motorcycles so use caution when operating such objects. It is also important to remember that to be arrested for a DUI in Massachusetts, you do not have to actually operate the vehicle.  You can still be found guilty if you had the capability to physically control and regulate the vehicle, regardless of whether you were engaging in that ability.  For example,sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition can lead to your arrest for DUI by being in actual physical control of the car. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us at Brooks & Crowley and we offer you legal guidance and assistance.

SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OVERRULES REGISTRAR OF MOTOR VEHICLES ON DUI LICENSE SUSPENSION

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 18, 2012
On May 17, 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in Paul J. Souza v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles.  In this case, the Court overruled the Registrar of Motor Vehicles’s interpretation of a law that increases the length of suspensions for multiple offenders who refuse chemical tests.  Pursuant to G. L. c. 90, § 24 (1) (f) (1), if a person has no prior operating under the influence convictions, the suspension for refusing a chemical test is 180 days.  If, however, the person has one prior DUI conviction, the suspension is for three years (and this three-year suspension is simply for refusing to take the test; it is not after a conviction for any crime). The Registrar had interpreted this provision in Melanie’s Law to mean that, if a person had previously admitted guilt but received a continuance without a finding on a prior DUI, this counted as a “conviction” for purposes of the statute, even if the person was not found guilty of the offense.  The Registrar’s position was, since the the purpose of Melanie’s Law was to increase penalties for drunk drivers in the Commonwealth, its practice of treating CWOF’s as convictions was proper.  But the Court disagreed, stating that if the legislature used the word “conviction” in the statute, and that the Registrar was not free to substitute its own definition for the one in the statute.  The Court found that the Registrar should have only suspended Mr. Souza’s license for 180 days, not three years. Make sure that your DUI attorney knows how to protect your rights. Call Brooks & Crowley LLP today at 781-251-0555.

DEPORTEE ARRESTED FOR 6TH DUI

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, October 01, 2011
Eduardo Alementa Torres, originally from Mexico, was arrested Saturday morning in Boxborough for his sixth DUI. Torres was driving with an expired inspection sticker when police pulled him and saw a beer bottle on the passenger seat. After the officer detected a strong alcohol odor and conducted a field sobriety test, Torres submitted to a Breathalyzer. The test showed his blood-alcohol concentration (“BAC”) was .09 percent, above the Massachusetts’ legal limit of .08 percent. According to police, Torres had no identification on him and provided a false name but were able to identify him by running his fingerprints through an automated identification system. Police learned that Torres was a previously deported fugitive and had two prior drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts and one in California. Torres arrest is part of a growing controversy surrounding illegal immigrants. In 2013, a nationwide program entitled “Secure Communities” will require fingerprints of all suspects arrested in Massachusetts would be sent to federal immigration authorities for screening. Suspects found living in the country illegally could face deportation. While supporters have argued the program targets violent offenders and is vital for public safety, Governor Deval Patrick and other opponents have said that it could also encourage racial profiling and sow distrust of police in immigrant communities. While the future of the Secure Communities program is unclear, the severity of Torres’ charges are not. Boxborough police charged Torres with operating under the influence of alcohol; operating with a suspended registration; operating an unregistered vehicle; possessing an open container of liquor in a vehicle; operating with a suspended driver’s license; giving a false name to a police officer; and operating without an inspection sticker. He was arraigned Monday today in Ayer District Court and held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for October 3, 2011.

OPERATING A BOAT WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Justin McDonald, a 22-year-old man, was in court on Monday, accused of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol after a crash that threw him and a friend, Steven Woods, overboard into Marshfield Harbor on Saturday night. The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday even though Woods has not been found. The prosecutor said McDonald admitted to having ten beers before the crash. “He stated that he was — in his words — ‘a little buzzed,’ but was ‘pretty good, not drunk,’” Humphrey said. Despite McDonald’s admission that he had been drinking and there was alcohol in coolers on the boat, his attorney said that does not prove his client was drunk. McDonald posted $10,000 bail and was released today after entering his plea in Plymouth District Court. A DUI, or DWI, charge may be made when an operator is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many people don’t realize that they may be charged with DUI if operating a motorcycle, snowmobile, airplane, or as in McDonald’s case, a boat.

PLYMOUTH MAN CHARGED WITH OUI AND VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 15, 2011
After a fatal crash that killed a Jamaica Plain man and seriously injured two passengers, police have charged Anthony Deicicchi, a 28-year-old Plymouth man with motor vehicular homicide, two counts of operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury, operating under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. According to police reports, the crash occurred in Quincy early Sunday morning when Deicicchi’s vehicle suddenly crossed into oncoming traffic striking the deceased’s vehicle head on. Yesterday Deicicchi was arraigned at his hospital bed at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and released after posting $10,000 bail. has been ordered to abstain from drugs and alcohol, submit to random chemical screenings and not drive while the case in Quincy District Court is pending.

HINES WARD CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 15, 2011
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Hines Ward was arrested early Saturday outside Atlanta, Georgia for drunk driving. The reigning “Dancing With the Stars” champion was charged and released on $1300 bond. Ward’s attorney released a statement saying, “We are confident that the facts will show that Hines was not impaired by alcohol while driving.” The details surrounding the arrest paint a different picture of Ward who, according to the police report, “swayed back and forth and was getting agitated while conducting the evaluation.” The evaluation included a “one leg stand” and the “walk and turn” field sobriety test. The officer also reported that “Mr. Ward could not keep his balance and started before instructed several times,” and that he missed the heel to toe, stepped off the line, and conducted an improper turn. The portable Alco-Sensor FST test showed a reading of Ward’s blood alcohol content (“BAC”) to be 0.128, above the legal limit of 0.08. Police use the Alco-Sensor tests to determine probable cause in DUI arrests. However, because the test is not reliable enough to determine the BAC, they are not admissible in Georgia courts. The former Super Bowl MVP refused to take the state-administered Breathalyzer, which could result in a suspension of his driver’s license regardless of the outcome of his case. Ward is set to appear Oct. 6 in DeKalb County State Court.

WOMAN CONVICTED OF 5TH DUI AFTER REAR-ENDING STATE TROOPER

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 07, 2011
A repeat drunk driver, who rear-ended State Police Colonel Marian McGovern, pleaded guilty to drunken driving for the fifth time today and was sentenced to two years behind bars.  Her punishment also included 10 years probation and permanent revocation of her driver’s license. McGovern issued a statement saying, “I am satisfied that the judicial system took its course in this case,’’ she said in the statement. “What concerns me greatly, however, is not the crash in which I was a victim, but the steady stream of crashes, many of them caused by impaired, distracted, and careless drivers, that continue to plague our highways.’’ Two troopers were injured last month after being struck by drivers. They are among the 45 troopers injured in crashes since January 1, 2010, with about half of those incidents involving drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As evident by this woman’s case, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be significant and long lasting.  If you have been arrested for DUI in Massachusetts, you need a skilled Massachusetts DUI lawyer with experience fighting these cases.

REGISTRY OF MOTOR VEHICLE CERTIFICATES CONSIDERED TESTIMONIAL, DOCUMENTS CONSIDERED INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE WITHOUT LIVE TESTIMONY

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In order to convict someone of driving after suspension of license, the Commonwealth has to prove that the person received notice of the suspension.  Until last week, the government has been proving notice by offering into evidence a piece of paper from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, certifying that the attached notices had been mailed.  Courts have been admitting them as business records, even though the notices are typically created after the charges have already issued. However, last week in Commonwealth v. Parenteau, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that a certification by the registry that a notice of suspension was mailed to the driver is a testimonial document, and not simply a business record.  Absent the appearance of a live witness to be cross-examined, such certificates, created after the fact, are inadmissible by themselves to prove notice of suspension.  The court held that to admit the certificates violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation. This important decision will require someone from the Registry to appear and testify that a particular notice was mailed to the driver’s address, or at least that the practice of the Registry is to mail out notices to the address of record.  This requirement will surely add a level of difficulty to the Commonwealth’s ability to prove its cases.

MAN HELD WITHOUT BAIL AFTER 6TH DUI CHARGE

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 10, 2011
Frank Ceccaroni was arrested yesterday and faces his sixth DUI offense.  Ceccaroni was arraigned in Woburn District Court on charges that he led State Police on a chase at speeds of more than 130 miles per hour on Interstate 93 heading south into Boston while under the influence.  Ceccaroni pleaded not guilty to 15 charges, including driving under the influence, and is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Chapter 276, Section 58A of the Massachusetts General Laws, also known as the “dangerousness statute,” allows the Commonwealth to move for pretrial detention if the defendant is facing a third or more DUI offense.  Ceccaroni could remain in detention if the judge in the hearing deems that no conditions of release will adequately assure the safety of the public. If you’ve been arrested in Massachusetts on a DUI charge, you need a Massachusetts DUI lawyer with the knowledge and experience to ensure that you are treated fairly in your pending case.  Don’t make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who does not have sufficient experience in the complex area of Massachusetts DUI law.  We have over 30 years experience as a Massachusetts DUI lawyer team, and provide the representation needed for a successful outcome.

MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATE CONSIDERING IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES FOR FIRST TIME DUI OFFENDERS

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 08, 2011
The Massachusetts State Senate Transportation Committee recently held a public hearing concerning Senate Bill 1746, “An Act Relative to Ignition Interlock Devices,” sponsored by Senator Hedlund and co-sponsored by 7 legislators. The bill is aimed at requiring the use of ignition interlock devices (“IIDs”)for first time DUI offenders. Currently, only second or subsequent offenders seeking hardship driving privileges are required to use ignition interlocks. These IIDs are similar to breathalyzers, installed to a motor vehicle’s dashboard. Before the vehicle’s motor can be started, the driver first must breathe into the device and if the breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is greater than the programmed blood alcohol concentration—usually 0.02% or 0.04%, the device prevents the engine from being started. At random times after the engine has been started, the IID will require another breath sample. The purpose of this is to prevent a friend from breathing into the device. If the breath sample isn’t provided, or the sample exceeds the ignition interlock’s preset blood alcohol level, the device will log the event, warn the driver and then start up an alarm (e.g., lights flashing, horn honking, etc.) until the ignition is turned off, or a clean breath sample has been provided. Twenty seven states now require the use of ignition interlocks for first time offenders, and once the Transportation Committee’s executive session recommends the bill as favorable, Senate Bill 1746 will proceed to the Senate floor.

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