The Quincy Patriot Ledger reported that Paul Gillis, 55 of Rockland was arrested for the fourth time for drunk driving. He was held without bail by a judge in the Hingham District Court. According to police Gillis was drunk when he drove his car into a parked car, failed to stop and drove off to his home a short distance away. He now faces charges of drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The defendant admitted to hitting the parked car but claimed that he did not stop because there was nobody present at the scene. Read full article, Quincy Patriot Ledger, September 23, 2008.
If this is in fact a 4th offense OUI Gillis is looking at a severe sentence if convicted. Massachusetts establishes harsh penalties for fourth offense OUI convictions. Gillis is looking at a fine of up to twenty five thousand dollars, up to 5 years in state prison and a 10 year loss of license. This case has Superior Court jurisdiction in Massachusetts meaning that a conviction could result in the defendant having to serve his time in a state prison. For more information on drunk driving in Massachusetts call Massachusetts Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Stephen Neyman. You should also look at Melanie's Law enacted in October of 2005. The express purpose in passing this law to" enhance the penalties and administrative sanctions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offenders in Massachusetts".
Gillis is also looking at a prosecution for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24 makes these acts a crime. That law specifically states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle negligently on a public way so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered can be imprisoned for two years if convicted. The same applies to anyone who fails to stop and identify himself by name and residence after knowingly colliding with any other vehicle or property or causing injury to any other vehicle or property. One Massachusetts case has held that in order to support a conviction on the charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage the prosecution must present legally sufficient evidence for a judge or jury to conclude that the defendant operated the vehicle at the time of the accident resulting in property damage. This is often difficult to prove in that people see the car involved in the collision but are rarely in a position to positively identify the driver.
Holding defendants in cases such as this without bail is unusual. The article fails to state the reasons articulated by the judge in doing so. Most likely Gillis will appeal his bail to the Plymouth County Superior Court. That process is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 58. That statute requires the Superior Court to hear a petition for review of the District Court bail order "as speedily as practicable and except for unusual circumstances, on the same day the petition is filed. The Superior Court judge may continue the hearing to the next day if the required records and other necessary information are not available. In Massachusetts this process is commonly referred to as a Bail Appeal.
Our office appears regularly in the Hingham District Court for all criminal matters including OUI cases. We pride ourselves on our results many of which are published on our website. Many drunk driving cases in Massachusetts are defensible. No matter what the allegations are you should contact a Massachusetts criminal lawyer to discuss your rights. Never appear in court without a lawyer if possible. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. All conversations are confidential and advice is given by lawyers with at least 20 years experience.