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License Reinstated After Breathalyzer Refusal

Massachusetts Registry News

In August of last year, on Route 1 in Saugus, a Massachusetts State Trooper noticed a Cadillac driving erratically. The vehicle was speeding and drifting between lanes. The driver was late in stopping and   upon approaching the car, the trooper detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the passenger compartment. The trooper reported observing that the driver had had glassy bloodshot eyes, was lethargic and slurred his words as he spoke.  He admitted having consumed three beers. He was unable to locate his registration after fumbling through his glovebox and papers for several moments.

The trooper believed that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol and he asked the driver to perform some field sobriety tests. He used the door for support as he exited his car. He swayed side to side and the odor of alcoholic beverage was also present. The odor of alcoholic beverage became stronger as the driver spoke. The first test which the trooper explained and demonstrated was the one leg stand. As the trooper demonstrated the field sobriety test, the driver swayed side to side and attempted to lift his foot prior to being told to do so. The driver ultimately refused to perform the 1 leg stand, due to a foot injury. The trooper then administered the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. He again observed that the driver’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot. There was an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person that became stronger as he spoke and he swayed side to side. The trooper reported that both of the driver’s eyes lacked smooth pursuit. They also exhibited nystagmus prior to 45 degrees and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation. The final test offered was a preliminary breath test, which the driver refused to take. After the PBT refusal, the trooper formed the opinion that the driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. He placed the driver under arrest and advised him of his Miranda rights.

At the barracks, the driver refused the breathalyzer and was advised of the license suspension penalties. A computer check showed that he had 2 prior convictions for OUI alcohol. In 1999 he was convicted of OUI in Barnstable District Court and in 2002 he was convicted of an OUI in Pennsylvania. The DUI defendant was charged with OUI 3rd offense, marked lanes violations, speeding and failure to use his directional. The driver’s license was suspended for 5 years for having refused the breath test.

The result: After the defendant was found not guilty of OUI 3rd offense, in May of this year, Attorney Paul B. Watkins represented him in the Lynn District Court regarding the return of his license. A not guilty verdict does not automatically result in the reinstatement of a license which was suspended for a chemical test refusal. Instead, a hearing is held regarding whether reinstating the license would endanger public safety. Here, Attorney Watkins was able to convince the judge that putting his back on the road was appropriate and the grateful client got out from under a 5 year license revocation.

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