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Boston Firefighter Charged With OUI, Blows .14 Breathalyzer

The Boston Globe reported that on September 15, 2008 a Boston Firefighter was charged with OUI and other related charges.  Read Full article, Boston Globe, 9/15/2008.  According to the newspaper report, On Sunday, September 14, 2008 at around 2:30 a.m. the defendant, Vernon Tiger Allen, 43, was driving between 45 and 50 miles per hour on the VFW Parkway.  At the intersection of the VFW Parkway and Baker Street Allen broadsided a car being driving by a 27 year old Connecticut man.  The driver of that car was trapped in the car.  A rescue crew arrived to extricate the victim from the wreckage.  He was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he was reported to be in critical condition.  Allen took a breathalyzer test at the scene and blew a .14.  The legal limit in Massachusetts is a .08.  At the scene Allen told the police that he had only 2 beers and that he had finished his shift 2 hours earlier.  Boston Fire Department records showed that Allen had been off of work for 10 hours at that time.  The victim, Ryan Suprenant is also facing possible OUI charges and charges for running a red light.   

This is an interesting case.  Even though the victim might have caused the accident the defendant can still be prosecuted and convicted for OUI.  The victim faces the same plight as well.  Most likely the victim’s blood alcohol has already been determined.  When people are taken to the hospital blood is routinely taken.  A toxicology screen is likely given the statements made in the newspaper article.  The victim’s blood results might also be subject to suppression depending on the circumstances surrounding the taking of the blood.  Blood alcohol results can be tainted if hospital personnel used alcohol rather than iodine to clean the area around which they took the blood. 

As a Massachusetts OUI Defense Lawyer I have tried countless drunk driving cases.  While waiting around courthouses to get me cases called I have also had the privilege of watching scores of other drunk driving trials.  It am always amazed at how many people testify that they had “2 beers”.  For some reason this seems to be a number that people accused of OUI feel is believable yet will not result in a conviction.  This sort of “creativity” is completely unnecessary.  It can result in a jury disbelieving your testimony.  I remember years ago trying a case in the Dorchester District Court before a very reasonable and compassionate judge.  My client elected to have the case tried by the judge and not a jury.  He, like many other clients testified that he had 2 beers.  The judge interjected “I wish I got a dollar every time I heard a defendant admit to drinking a ‘2-pack'”.  Another judge in a similar situation wished he had invented the “2-pack” and commented that if everyone who testified before him had purchased one of his “2-packs” he would have been able to retire in his thirties.  For the reasons stated below relying on the “2 beer” testimony can be pointless.   

When trying OUI cases where the defendant refused to take a breathalyzer test I often engage a toxicologist to calculate blood alcohol.  These witnesses can be very persuasive.  Typically they use a formula that is accepted in the industry to calculate your blood alcohol level at the time of operation.  There are several of these formulas.  There are various websites that allow you to enter the variables used by the toxicologists to determine your blood alcohol.  The Police Notebook website allows you to do just this.  For instance, if you are 180 pounds and drink 6 light beers over a 5 hour period your blood alcohol should be a .04.  This is half the legal limit in Massachusetts.  This website discusses additional variables the factor into the equation as well.  The toxicologists engaged by our office use the Widmark formula.  The results are similar to those calculated through the Police Notebook. 

If you have been charged with OUI in Massachusetts and you have had more than a couple of drinks do not despair.  Call our office.  We will discuss your case and, if necessary hire one of our preferred toxicologists to calculate your blood alcohol at the time you were driving.  You might be very surprised by the results.