A Beverly, Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to his 5fh drunk driving charge and will spend the next three to three and one half years in state prison. Gary Lee was first convicted of OUI in Massachusetts back in 1975. He picked up his second DUI in 1982 in Alaska. Two more convictions in Massachusetts followed, one in 1985 and the other in 2004. The plea took place in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem, Massachusetts.
This case resulted from an incident in June of 2008. Beverly Police responded to the scene of a motor vehicle crash where they found the defendant being treated by ambulance personnel. The medical attendants detected alcohol on the man’s breath and alerted the police. Once it was clear that the man had no injuries the police conducted field sobriety tests which the defendant failed. A breathalyzer test was administered. The defendant blew a .24, three times the legal limit.
Massachusetts OUI laws require someone convicted of a 5th offense drunk driving charge to serve at least 2 years in jail. There is also a fine of at least $2,000 associated with a conviction as well a lifetime loss of license. The case can be prosecuted in either the district court or the superior court. In this case the Essex County District Attorney’s Office chose to prosecute the defendant in the Superior Court. Massachusetts District Courts can sentence to no more than 2 1/2 years in a county house of correction. Judges in Massachusetts Superior Courts can sentence people to state prison. The maximum sentence for a 5th offense OUI in Massachusetts is 5 years in prison.
Drunk driving cases are a staple of almost all criminal defense lawyers’ practices. The OUI laws in Massachusetts have been modified several times over the past 20 years, each time stiffening the penalties. The decision of whether or not to try a case has most recently been complicated by laws that essentially reward you for pleading guilty by offering you a chance to re-gain your operating privileges once your case is resolved. Now more than ever it is important that you make the right selection in hiring a lawyer.
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