Articles Posted in Drunk Driving in Massachusetts

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Drunk driving accidents are different than typical personal injury lawsuits in Boston because the police and prosecutors will be working separately to gather evidence and prove intoxication on behalf of the at-fault driver.  In a typical car accident case, where the driver is not suspected of impairment, police may respond to the scene and conduct a cursory evaluation. They will typically write up a brief vehicle crash report and get the parties to exchange contact information and insurance cards, but there will not likely be any follow up investigation, unless there are serious injuries or death.

Drunk driving accident cases more often result in serious injuries and fatalities, and furthermore, driving drunk is a crime. That means police and prosecutors will be more heavily involved, though this won’t have a direct bearing on the civil case.

This additional work done by the police is for the purpose of convicting the defendant in an OUI trial, but it can also be of great help in obtaining a full and appropriate financial settlement from defendant’s insurance company.  In some cases, the insurance company will realize there is no point in denying liability.  When a defendant is arrested with probable cause for suspicion of drunk driving, insurers are often much quicker to settle.  They will offer to pay to fix plaintiff’s vehicle and will make a settlement offer. This does not however, mean that it will be a good settlement offer as the insurance company may still be willing to fight the case on damages. When this happens, the jury is told that defendant was driving drunk and caused the accident, but it is up to them to decide how much money, if any, the defendant should be required to pay the plaintiff.  This is known as a fight on damages only civil case and they are quite common in drunk driving injury cases.

Boston Drunk Driving Accidents
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The winter holiday season is a time of year when many people are out on the roads after drinking alcohol, due to the all holiday parties and family festivities. This is one reason Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), uses this time to push the legislature into crafting stricter laws related to drunk driving and drunk driving offenders.  According to a recent news article from CBS Local Boston, that is exactly what MADD is doing this year.

Boston drunk driving lawyerMADD is lobbying local lawmakers to require alcohol ignition interlock devices for first-time operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OUI) offenders.  Pursuant to the current law, these alcohol ignition interlock devices are only mandated for those who have been convicted two or more times for OUI.  This current ignition interlock law can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 90, Section 241/2.

Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices

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Drunk driving may be considered a misdemeanor for a first offense, but it is a misdemeanor that can result in serious personal injury as well as significant property damage.  There are some cases in which a defendant will crash into a building such as a home or place of business, and that can result in more people being seriously injured or even killed.

car crash Boston According to a recent news article from CBS Boston, a man has just been arrested in Dracut, Massachusetts for a drunk driving crash in which he allegedly slammed his car into the Dracut Department of Public Works (DPW) building.  Authorities have said the 50-year-old defendant, who is from Dracut, was driving his vehicle at around 4 p.m. when the crash occurred. Continue reading

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A high-profile Boston drunk driving case recently resulted in conviction, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday – the No. 1 holiday for drunk driving deaths nationally. While public derision and criminal penalties can serve as powerful deterrents, it doesn’t necessarily make drunk driving victims whole. That’s why our Boston drunk driving accident attorneys are committed to fighting for compensation for victims. Note that civil lawsuits will be handled entirely separate from the criminal case, and a criminal case conviction won’t necessarily result in a civil case win. That’s why you need an experienced DUI injury lawyer.

By now many residents in the Greater Boston area have heard about the DUI arrest that led to a major scandal with the Massachusetts State Police (MSP).  According to a recent news report from the Boston Globe, the daughter of a local judge was detained following an alleged drunk driving accident in Framingham, Massachusetts.  Prosecutors alleged that the arresting state trooper wrote in his police report that the defendant admitted to performing sexual acts for drugs or money and also offered to provide sexual acts on the trooper if he would give her a break on the operating under the influence of liquor and drugs charge she was about to face.

Boston drunk driving accident Prosecutors say the trooper declined her offer and put all this in his report along with her allegedly telling him that her dad was a judge and, “would kill her” if he read what she said in the police report. At this point, prosecutors alleged the trooper was pressured by the state police colonel to remove these allegations from the police report to spare her and her father the embarrassment. There were also requests to remove the allegations from the report with the office of the district attorney. There have been no allegations that her father participated in any way with these efforts to redact the police report.   Her father did however, come to the MSP barracks and picked her up and found her fading in and out of consciousness.  The MSP Colonel resigned in connection with this scandal.  Continue reading

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Boston drunk driving car accidents sometimes involve a driver who attempts to flee the scene following the accident.  In some cases, the at-fault driver’s car is still running and able to move and they will try to get away in the vehicle.  In other cases, the defendant’s car will be totaled from the Boston drunk driving car crash and he or she will try to flee the scene on foot.  Even if they are eventually caught, the thinking process appears to be that they will no longer be intoxicated so it will be harder to prove a drunk driving criminal case.  When a driver leaves on foot, it is not too difficult for the police to catch them if the car is registered in their name.

drunk driving accidentIn some Boston drunk driving crashes where the driver flees the scene, he or she will never be caught.  When this occurs, car accident victims may have to find other sources of recovery than the at-fault driver’s car insurance company.  When the diver flees the scene and is not found, we typically call this a John Doe driver case. Continue reading

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A lawsuit filed after a drunk driving accident in Boston is a civil action where defendant may be held liable and the plaintiff awarded monetary damages. The same is not true in a criminal action.  However, unlike with many other Boston personal injuries, the tortious act in question is also illegal, so the defendant will likely be facing one or more criminal charges in a separate case.

Boston drunk driving crashEven though the criminal case and civil drunk driving lawsuit are separate cases, the criminal case can have major effects on the civil personal injury case.  The way this typically works is that following a Boston drunk driving crash, the police will be called to investigate, and if they suspect the at-fault driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OUI), the officer will conduct a drunk driving investigation consistent with the officer’s training and experience and the DWI Detection guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which have been adopted by law enforcement agencies around the nation.

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Losing a family member in a Boston drunk driving accident can have such a devastating effect on the surviving family members. The emotional pain and mental suffering is unbearable, but the financial losses are crushing as well. These losses include medical expenses, lost wages and loss of potential future income and benefits. To compensate one surviving family, a defendant in one recent case agreed to a $4.8 million settlement, according to a recent news article from Fox News.

DUI Ignition InterlockThis was a very high-profile alleged drunk driving case in which the defendant was Amy Locane, who is an actress best know for her work in the 1990s cult classic musical “Cry Baby,” as well as a major role in the first season of the popular series, “Melrose Place.”  The fatal alleged drunk driving car crash occurred in 2010. Locane received a 2.5-year prison sentence, but that wasn’t enough to compensate the family of the 60-year-old decedent. Thus, they pursued a civil case. Much of the settlement payout will be derived from the hosts of the party where Locane was drinking prior to the crash, under the theory of social host liability.  Continue reading

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The clear majority of Boston car accident cases are purely civil matters.  The at-fault driver will likely get a citation for one of more moving violations such as failure to stay in the proper lane, or one of the others listed in Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 90C.

Boston drunk driving accidentsHowever, unless the driver was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, or doing something extremely reckless like participating in an illegal street race, there will not be any criminal charges filed.  Continue reading

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When people talk about drunk driving crashes in Boston, they often call them drunk driving accidents.  While it is okay to use this term, as discussed in a recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, these are generally someone’s fault, and therefore, the proper term should be drunk driving crashes, as this does not indicate a lack of blame. The truth is, these collisions occur because of specific choices made by the driver. The offense of operating under the influence (OUI), as defined in MGL c. 90 s.24, is to drive a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/ or with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds 0.08. To do so is not only a criminal offense, it is a breach of one’s duty to passengers, other motorists and pedestrians to use reasonable care on the roads.

Boston car accident lawyer In keeping up with the changing terminology, Waze, one of the most popular navigation apps, has begun using the word “crash” when explaining a road hazard ahead that involves a motor vehicle collision.  Continue reading

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According to a recent news article from Boston.com, a man was just arrested in the greater Boston area after allegedly crashing his car.  When the police ran his driving record and arrest history through the computer on the cruiser, they saw that he allegedly had 18 prior offenses for drunk driving.

Boston drunk driving crashIn this particular accident, authorities say the defendant crashed his motor vehicle into a utility pole.  The 58-year-old man was driving his 2005 Toyota Scion at around 8 p.m. when the crash occurred, and the reason for the crash was that he failed to handle a curve in the road and allegedly left the road surface and crashed into the large utility pole.  Continue reading