A longtime top aide and adviser to Gov. Deval Patrick has been suspended by the Governor after being arrested recently for drunken driving in Brookline, the Enterprise News reports.
The report shows that even the most experienced and professional people can be labeled criminals with an OUI charge. While it’s not a charge that people plan to commit, it’s the most commonly charged crime in the United States.
Everyone from school teachers to firefighters to police officers have been charged. It’s not as if this is a planned, sophisticated crime. Other crimes, like thefts or even battery charges can be planned out and executed and those defendants face less serious penalties.
It is important when facing a charge of OUI in Massachusetts to plan out a strategic defense to the charges. As this case illustrates, the social consequences, including job loss, can be as serious as the criminal penalties. An experienced Massachusetts DUI defense lawyer will scrutinize every aspect of the case and help the client fend off the allegations they face.
In the case of the Governor’s aide, despite denying that he was driving while intoxicated, his boss decided to put him on unpaid leave after his arrest. While this may be more of a political move, it isn’t an uncommon reaction from employers.
Many employees face suspension or firing after being arrested, even though an arrest isn’t proof a crime was committed. While many employers may realize that, they tend to do what may be most acceptable in the public eye and get rid of the employee. More companies tend to operate in an “act first, ask questions later” mindset about their employees picking up OUI charges, which is unfortunate.
Ron Bell was pulled over one early Sunday in Brookline by police who say he was driving erratically. They charged him with OUI, speeding and marked lane violations. He denied the charges, but was still suspended until the investigation is completed.
The Boston Herald reported that Bell failed several field sobriety tests and was released on personal recognizance after his arraignment. His gout condition may have contributed to an alleged failed field sobriety test. He also is recovering from a March heart attack.
Medical issues are certainly a factor in OUI cases in Massachusetts. While police may not listen to someone who they have pulled over if they tell the officer about an existing medical condition, a judge or jury might.
Police officers are trained to be suspicious of what people say to them. Surely, they have heard every excuse in the book about why you are not really drunk. But existing medical conditions, such as imbalance issues, foot or leg issues or even weather conditions can make performing field sobriety tests difficult.
That’s why all of these issues must be brought up once the case gets into the criminal justice system. While people would rather avoid an arrest and not have to deal with that embarrassment, sometimes they must be patient and wait for the true facts to come out at trial.
The Law Offices of Michael DelSignore are conveniently located in Stoughton, Attleboro, New Bedford and Westborough.
More Blog Entries:
Driver facing Stoughton DUI with Bad Driving Record: September 17, 2011
Aide to Governor Patrick suspended after drunk driving arrest, by Matt Murphy, Enterprise News