Summary of Facts: Our client was found passed out behind the wheel of a car on a street in Boston. After officers responded to a call for a domestic disturbance, they heard musing blaring from his vehicle. Upon approaching the vehicle officers noticed that the car was running and there was a man slumped over in the driver’s seat. Officers tried to wake the man but were unable to for 6 to 8 minutes. After they finally woke him officers said they detected a strong odor of alcohol and found numerous beer cans strewn throughout the car. The officers administered standardized filed sobriety tests (SFSTs) and formed the opinion that the driver of the vehicle was impaired. The driver was placed under arrest for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol (OUI/DUI/DWI) and brought to the police station where he was booked and read his rights. The driver refused the breathalyzer test (BT).
Action: Attorney Christopher Coughlin represented our client. He filed motions to suppress the beer cans from evidence (that motion was denied) and to exclude the defendant’s refusal of the breathalyzer from being introduced at trial (that motion was allowed and the jury did not hear that evidence). At trial the commonwealth presented testimony from two officers. The lead officer had 22 years of experience and has handled hundreds of OUI cases. The officer testified about the loud music, the car running and our client being passed out behind the wheel. He also testified about finding over half a dozen open beer cans in the car and our client failing the filed sobriety tests. Attorney Coughlin effective and efficient cross-examination highlighted all the shortcomings in the Commonwealth’s case.
Result: After a two day trial, the jury promptly returned a verdict of not guilty for this Roxbury OUI case. Our client was discharged from the complaint.