Mobile ImageText DelSignore Law at 781-686-5924 with your name and what kind of charge you are texting regarding.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Commonwealth v. Hallinan paved the way for anyone convicted of an OUI with a breath test from 2012-2019 to have their old case vacated without fear of harsher penalties if convicted after retrial.

What steps should you take if you did admit to a breath test or were convicted after trial.  Keep in mind:  even if you got a CWOF on an OUIU charge that counts as a conviction and can be vacated.

Here is what I would recommend you do.  I have been vacating these old OUI cases for the past two years and have had at least 10 clients receive new trials.  None of my clients have been subsequently convicted of OUI; all have had their prior conviction either dismissed or they were found not guilty.

South Carolina DUI crash killing bride and severely injuring the groom could involve legal battles over blood alcohol testing as the defendant refused field sobriety tests.  25 year old Jamie Komoroski was charged with three counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death and one count of reckless homicide after a wedding crash. The 25-year-old suspect smelled of alcohol but refused a field sobriety test at the scene, police said. Komoroski has no past convictions.  To read more about the Komoroski case you can read Julianne McShane’s Article from NBC News.

The husband, who suffered bodily injuries but has been released from the hospital, has sued several bars that allegedly over-served the defendant alcohol that Friday. The suit blames the bars for serving a “notably and visibly intoxicated” Komorowski and letting her consume additional and excessive amounts of alcohol. It also alleges the bars allowed her to leave in her dangerously intoxicated state.

The Hutchinson family’s attorney, Danny Dalton said in a statement to CBS News: “The state grants restaurants and bars a license for the privilege to serve alcohol, and with that privilege comes a responsibility to the community to serve patrons responsibly and to deny service to individuals who are visibly intoxicated.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Commonwealth v. Lindsay Hallinan which allows someone seeking a new trial based on an OUI plea or conviction involving breath test results between 2012 and 2019 to receive a new trial without fear of harsher penalties from the Court or Registry of Motor Vehicles.  The major detriment to these motions prior to the Hallinan decision was that the RMV was saying that if someone lost after a retrial, the license suspension starts over as if the case just happened, not giving any credit for the license suspension that was already served.

  • This could have a major impact as prior to this decision the number of individuals seeking new trials was relatively low which may have resulted out of fear of further license suspensions.  This decision removes this obstacle to seeking a new trial.

The SJC decision in Hallinan has three major impacts:

What restrictions can social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik-Tok on their social media platforms?  The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects free speech and the case of Moody v. NetChoice that is before the United States Supreme Court on a petition for certiorari may redefine what it means to be a public forum and when private companies can limit speech on a platform that has global reach.  You can reach about the Moody case on the Scotus Blog.

The issues in Moody v. NetChoice, LLC are whether the First Amendment precludes a state from requiring social-media companies to host third-party communications and regulating when, where, and how they do so; and whether the First Amendment precludes a state from requiring social-media companies to notify and explain to their users when they censor the user’s speech.

In their petition for writ of certiorari, Florida officials argue that the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Moody v. NetChoice, LLC violates the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and the ability of private entities to exercise editorial discretion in the content they host on their platforms. The Florida officials specifically argue that the Eleventh Circuit erred in ruling that Florida’s law, which requires social media companies to host third-party communications and regulates when, where, and how they do so, is unconstitutional.

As a Massachusetts OUI Lawyer when I reviewed a case I make sure that the Commonwealth can prove operation.  In conversations with clients, many times the client will believe that the Commonwealth cannot prove operation because the client was not scene driving; however, Massachusetts OUI law does permit circumstantial evidence of operation.  One of the key rules on operation is that a conviction of OUI cannot be grounded solely in the uncorroborated confession of a defendant.  But what type of evidence is sufficient to establish corroboration. The Massachusetts Appeals Court in the case of

In recent weeks, the Appeals Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts clarified the standard of corroborated evidence required for convictions based on admissions.  The Appeals Court addressed this issue in Commonwealth v. Lagotic, on March 15,2023.  

What does it mean to Corroborate a confession?

The United States Supreme Court may consider whether police need an arrest warrant to enter a person’s home or whether they can enter a home without probable cause that the person resides there and is present.

The Supreme Court ruled in Payton v. New York, 445 U. S. 573 (1980) that the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from entering a suspect’s home without a warrant or under exigent circumstances. The Court struck down a New York statute providing for such warrantless entries because the Fourth Amendment draws a firm line at the entrance to the house.

The circuit split referenced in the petition for cert in the Pennington case refers to the disagreement among the lower courts on the standard required for police to enter a suspect’s home to execute an arrest warrant. Some circuits require police to have additional probable cause beyond the arrest warrant to enter a residence, while others do not.

Witness Intimidation is a common charge that will often accompany a domestic assault and battery charge in Massachusetts.  In the case of Commonwealth vs. Jeffrey S. Wheeler, it was alleged that the charge was against the Judge and not a specific person.

The defendant was convicted of two counts of intimidation in violation of G. L. c. 268, § 13B (intimidation statute). The defendant placed a telephone call to case specialist in the Newburyport Division of the District Court Department clerk’s office and stated that he was going to go rogue on a judge, that the judge was not “going to be a Judge anymore,” and that “it was going to appear on the TV.” The defendant mentioned the name of someone he said was involved in a court case and said that he was going to serve the judge with paperwork, but the case specialist believed it sounded like he was going to “take things into his own hands and do it himself.” 

The Judge was made aware of the defendant’s telephone call to the clerk’s office and was immediately escorted to her office under the protection of a State trooper. The Judge was escorted home by State police at the end of the day.  The Judge was shocked by the threat because the defendant’s name “did not resonate” with her. 

If you have had your license suspended by the Massachusetts RMV, you know it is a frustrating and difficult process to get it back.  Often, you will need a hearing with the Massachusetts Board of Appeals to get your license back.  This is a three member board that has more discretion to reinstate your license than the RMV.  To get to the Board of Appeals, you must fill out a form and send in a fifty dollar filing fee.   Your hearing will be scheduled in four to six months.  Here are some tips for success before the Board.

  1.  The Board is not simply going to reinstate your license no matter how long you have been without it.
  2. You must address the reason for the suspension; if it is medical, make sure to fill out the RMV medical forms.  There is a medical evaluation form as well as a loss of consciousness form if there is any allegation you lost consciousness or sustained a head injury.

The Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is set to decide in the coming weeks on a very controversial and important criminal case.  Commonwealth v. Cuffee is set to clarify some pending arguments regarding the state of Equal Protection rights in Massachusetts.  Should a defendant have to prove racial profiling before he is allowed to request the statistical data to support his claim, or should the facts of the case allow him to make a reasonable inference to request the data?  Does it matter if the profiling occurred during a traffic stop or a pedestrian stop?  What if the defendant does not argue an unlawful search or seizure, does it matter if the officer was motivated by race?  These are some of the questions the Supreme Judicial Court is tasked with answering.  You can watch a video of the oral argument here.

The defendant in this case, Mr. Kieson Cuffee, an African-American male, was arrested in 2019 and subsequently convicted after police received a ShotSpotter report.   The ShotSpotter reported an alleged incident of gunfire near a local intersection.   Kieson was running down the street, a few blocks away, in a fairly busy part of Springfield, then stopped and entered a local bodega.  When detectives entered the area to investigate the initial report, they noticed Kieson running, possibly with something on his right side, and subsequently, stop and enter the bodega.  At the time, the detectives had no indication that actual gunfire had occurred and had no description of any alleged suspects.  Based on observing Kieson, they swung their unmarked car around, parked, and entered the store.  There they cornered Kieson, violently attempted to detain him, and injured Kieson, all in under 30 seconds.  Frightened and bleeding profusely, Kieson ran and was chased down and arrested shortly after.  He was convicted and has appealed his case.

After his arrest, Kieson’s attorneys, utilizing the recent rulings in Commonwealth v. Long and Commonwealth v. Lora, argued against the stop and requested records on the arresting detectives.  Specifically, based on the facts surrounding the arrest, the history of the arresting department, and other factors required in Long to show a reasonable claim of selective enforcement of the law, they requested documents relating to the arresting detectives such as their police reports and field interview reports for a year leading up to the arrest of Kieson.  Based on Long, where the Supreme Judicial Court set out its desire to lower the burden on defendants to make a reasonable claim.  It seems to be a logical extension of the Long decision that the SJC would allow discovery to prove racial bias that violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Often an OUI charge in Massachusetts will begin with a civilian calling 911 to claim you were driving erratically.  What can be done to challenge the basis of the stop and your arrest for OUI?

It is well-settled that under Massachusetts law, a 911 call can be used as the basis for a stop on suspicion of drunk driving. However, you understand that the Commonwealth must pass both the basis of knowledge test and the veracity test of Aguilar-Spinelli to show both that there was a sufficient basis for reliability in the 911 call. Additionally, the Commonwealth must show that the stop was not pretextual on the basis of race. Simply demonstrating that there was reasonable suspicion for the stop does not satisfy the Commonwealth’s burden to show it did not violate the defendant’s equal protection rights.

Regarding the sufficiency of particularity given in a 911 call to be the basis for a car stop, the recent case Commonwealth v. Westgate, 101 Mass. App. Ct. 548 (2022) affirmed a 2009 decision where that court stated “Where a police radio broadcast directs an officer to make an investigatory stop of a vehicle, the stop is lawful only if the Commonwealth establishes both the particularity of the vehicle’s description and indicia of the reliability of the transmitted information.”  In Westgate, the trial court initially granted the defendant’s motion to suppress based on the fact that there was insufficient information to show reliability of the stop of the defendant’s Mercedes. However, the Commonwealth appealed, and the Appeals Court reversed, indicating that a 911 call of an apparent “drunk driver” who “almost hit a telephone pole” provided sufficiently reliable information to justify a traffic stop under the reasonable suspicion standard, where the caller also was able to give the description of the vehicle, a white Mercedes, the direction of travel of the vehicle, and was able to read the license plate number to the car, despite the fact that the second occupant of the vehicle did not give her name.

Contact Information