Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Massachusetts Drunk Driver Charged With North Shore Pedicab Accident And Leaving The Scene

The pre-Labor Day Weekend push of commercials warning against operating under the influence did not prevent the collision between an automobile and a pedicab just before the weekend, according to a story published by the Salem News.

According to the article, a 20 year old female struck the pedicab just after midnight on Washington Street in downtown Salem. According to the police, she stopped “for a brief moment” and then drove around the tipped-over pedicab and then left the scene. The pedicab’s driver, Anthony Taurasi III, reportedly chased the motor vehicle up the road before collapsing on the ground. Mr. Taurasi and one of his passengers were then brought to the hospital. During his brief chase, however, he was able to view a partial license plate.

Given the license plate number, police said they found Rose Barry of Beverly driving on Highland Avenue with her hazard lights on. However, when the police turned on their blue lights and sirens, she refused to stop “made an abrupt right turn into the rear of 84 Highland Ave. and then attempted to go between a space in the guardrail.”
Ms. Barry was immediately arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury. More charges followed as police took her back to the police station, where she reportedly blew alcohol levels of 0.12 and 0.13. State law says drivers of legal drinking age, 21, are drunk at levels of 0.08 or above. She was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, failure to stop for police, failure to yield and operating under the influence of alcohol.
Taurasi said he spent the night in the emergency room. He said one of his passengers, a 15-year-old girl, had bruised ribs. The other passenger, a 22-year-old Peabody man, refused medical treatment.

Barry’s passenger, whose 20th birthday was Thursday, got a ride home through her father.

Barry remained a guest of the Commonwealth.

Sam’s take:
Other than the first major mistake of the evening Ms. Barry made (namely driving drunk), she successfully made matters worse for herself at each decision after the accident. Leaving the scene after an accident (which causes either property damage, personal injury or both) is a crime in itself. Further, while the law provides for what some consider rather gentle treatment for a first time offender of OUI, leaving the scene and taking the police on a merry chase is likely to eliminate the possibility of “getting a break”. Further, knowing that she had been drinking, she voluntarily took the breathalyzer test, which she had the right not to do. True, the refusal to take the test in Massachusetts means a temporary loss of license, but helping the Commonwealth prove she was under the influence does not improve her chances of keeping her license…in fact, she will lose her license for a longer time.

It is not clear whether Ms. Barry made any statements to the police, but it would appear consistent if she had. In other words, that would have been another big mistake. Many people think that they can somehow “talk themselves” out of a bad situation such as this. In these types of cases, the most common statement is that the driver “only had two drinks”. Such a statement is hardly helpful as (1) it is seldom believed and (2) it really does not matter. If the police believe they have probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence, they will arrest you for operating under the influence. Generally, this decision is made without the driver helping them with a confession. They usually appreciate the help, though, and award the driver with a free trip and overnight stay behind bars.

Circumstances such as these also bring other legal problems beyond the actual criminal prosecution. For example, there is likely to be one or more personal injury lawsuits against the driver (and the owner of the vehicle if it is not her) by the various passengers.

At Altman & Altman LLP, now located on the North Shore, Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, our successful criminal and civil defense lawyers have more than 50 years combined experience, including previous experience as prosecutors, and take the time necessary to gather all the facts of your case and advise your of your rights and your defense options. If you find yourself being accused of operating under the influence, or any related crime, act today to see if we can help you. There is no charge for the initial consultation.

The full article of this story can be found at
http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_242235151.html
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, P.C. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a defense attorney in Boston over 18 years. He frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network

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