Monday, January 28, 2013

DUI Dishonor Roll

Early Friday morning was not a particularly safe time to be driving in Amherst, although APD made it safer by taking two drunk drivers off the road, both of them female UMass students, and both incidents close to the flagship campus jam packed with potential accident victims. 

Stopped originally for speeding and "marked lanes violation" (swerving) at 1:17 AM on North Pleasant Street near infamous Hobart Lane, police arrested 21-year-old Hannah David, 58 Mt Vernon St, Fitchburg, MA, for Driving Under the Influence.

And a couple hours later at 2:58 AM on Phillips Street, the other infamous street in town, police stopped 20-year-old Meghan Fleming, 10 Valentine Road, Hopkinton, MA for "marked lanes violation".  The officer then noticed a "strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot glassy eyes, and slurred speech."

Ms Fleming took the Portable Breathalyzer Test and failed with a PBT of .173% -- more than twice the legal limit.  She was, however, smart enough to refuse the more sophisticated, fixed/stationary breathalyzer back at the station -- the one that provides results that are admissible in court.

So, theoretically, she loses her license for 180 days, unless of course she beats the DUI charge, which is now made harder to prove without the more sophisticated breathalyzer results.  And the fact she refused to take it cannot be used in court as evidence.

Although police also found a marijuana pipe and a small amount of the drug in the vehicle, so that will provide evidence to back up the DUI charge.  

Yeah, great system we have here in Massachusetts.  

Earlier in the week two other young ladies -- both UMass students -- were also taken off the road, handcuffed, and escorted back to APD headquarters under arrest.

Sunday, January 20 at 6:10 PM police stopped 22-year-old Lauren Derouin, 196 Triangle St, Amherst, and arrested her after she failed a Field Sobriety Test.  She did, however,  refuse to take the breathalyzer. 

Wednesday, January 23 at 1:09 AM police stopped 21-year-old Emily Rookwood, 3 Madison Rd, Marblehead, MA, for speeding (estimated 45 in a 30 MPH zone).  She failed the Field Sobriety Test and was transported back to the station, where she refused to take the breathalyzer test.


DaveMB said...

I think you mean "Dishonor Roll", as in "Roll Call".

Massachusetts is indeed more lenient than some other states in dealing with DUI. There was a US Supreme Court case this month about whether Misourri police could draw blood from a DUI suspect without a warrant -- they are definitely allowed to do it without the suspect's consent. The argument, which the Obama administration supported, is that the evidence of blood alcohol level is decaying rapidly and needs to be preserved, regardless of the privacy rights of the suspect.

Our concern for civil liberties here is laudable, but the system for prosecuting DUI's doesn't appear to work very well. One issue is that there is not complete confidence in the severity of the penalties -- judges and juries are reluctant to send "respectable" people to prison, for example.

Anonymous said...

The portable breathalyzers seem like a bad idea imho. They are not admissible, but they scare the suspect into not allowing the real test. If you blow a 1.8 you know you could be looking at aggravated. So if you are not sure of your bac, you can take the test for free with no penalty and then decide based on that whether to blow at the station. The system is broken.

Larry Kelley said...


Seems pretty common for a perp to take the portable one in the field, blow a high number, and then refuse to take the more important one back at the station.

Anonymous said...

Who says a drunk can't reason well. Seems like the sober thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to look into Massachusetts law and more specifically Melanie's law a little bit more before you start criticizing anything. To be completely honest you sound like a baffling idiot spitting these situations and your information and speculation not he incidents because what you are staying is not what the law states. To be completely honest you sound like a blubbering idiot but hey I won't criticize the law for right to free speech.

Larry Kelley said...

Well it is a fact that the Portable Breathalyzer results cannot be used in a court of law.

And since we can put a rover on Mars, I'm pretty sure these days we build pretty reliable portable breathalyzers.

It is also a fact that a refusal to take a Portable Breathalyzer or any of the other Field Sobriety Test procedures cannot be used in a court of law.

And yes, if you refuse those tests you do lose your license for 180 days; EXCEPT, if you win the DUI case against you (which is made a tad more easy by not having breathalyzer evidence) then a lawyer can easily get your license reinstated.

You with me so far? Because that's as far as I need to go.

Anonymous said...

i don't understand why you spend your time criticizing others. yes they made mistakes by drinking and driving but are you really helping anyone by bashing them on the internet? they are already being punished enough without you talking crap on the internet. not only that, 90% of your facts aren't even right. one of the girls arrested is my friend and you completely got the facts of her situation wrong. also by writing about it you're just making it likelier future schools and companies will find this on the internet and not hire/accept them. you really want to ruin someone's life to make yourself feel better? you seem like a bitter old man who has to put others down for fun. and if you don't allow this to be posted you're just confirming my suspicions and proving my point.

Larry Kelley said...

Doesn't require much time at all.

I simply let the public documents speak for themselves.