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.

MA Couple Are Charged With Giving Alcohol To Juvenile After Deadly Traffic Accident

Well, we began this week on the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog discussing crimes that occur in the summer. Yesterday, I was reminded of a companion crime to drunk driving and too much partying.

Two Palmer residents now face criminal charges that they supplied alcohol to a 17-year-old boy who later died in a dirt bike accident.

For those of you who are not sure, the drinking age is currently 21.

Police say 45-year-old Robin K. and 28-year-old Kenneth D. (hereinafter collectively, the “Defendants”) will be summoned to appear in court on charges of procuring alcohol for a minor.

Detective Sgt. Scott Haley told the Republican newspaper of Springfield that
the teenager, Erik N. (hereinafter, the “Deceased”), drank alcohol during a bonfire in April at the apartment complex where the Defendants live.

Apparently, whatever the cause, the Deceased died when, after leaving the bonfire, he crashed his dirt bike into a utility pole.

While one of the Defendants has declined to comment to the newspaper, the other has denied giving alcohol to the teenager.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

While this event did not technically occur in the summer, it is something that we often see in the summer…certainly when the weather is warmer. We especially see it around prom time, where parents, seeking to do the right thing, allow parties to occur at their home in which alcohol is served.

It is a crime to do so, and these crimes are often prosecuted. Further, they open the accused to huge civil lawsuits for any damages that result.

Of course, in this case, if the Defendants are found to be responsible for the death, the damages are catastrophic.

You may be wondering why it has taken so long to bring charges in this matter. Well, one would imagine that the Commonwealth has been conducting an investigation into the matter.

You see, a case like this needs to be investigated as if it were a homicide case…because that is what it could turn out to be.

The investigation should include accident reconstruction in relation to how the accident took place as well as an examination as to blood alcohol in the body at the time of the crash. Next, I would imagine that everyone at the party would be interviewed.

Of course, said interviews could prove difficult. The Defendants would be understandably reluctant and any juveniles who drank would be running the danger of prosecution if they admitted drinking.

“well, Sam…they could just deny drinking when interviewed. After all, they would not be under oath, so no charges for perjury would be possible, right?”

True, perjury would not be an issue (unless they lied at the Grand Jury), but other charges would be. For example, believe it or not, the felony charge of Intimidation of a Witness includes lying to law enforcement when in the middle of an investigation.

Apparently, our fine legislators were able to understand the fear and intimidation that courses through an officer’s veins when a civilian is less than truthful with them.

In this case, there is no indication that the Defendants are being prosecuted for homicide of any kind.

Yet.

But then, the investigation could still be continuing.

A situation like the Defendants now face is an example of how usually law-abiding people, perhaps seeking to do the responsible thing, can find themselves facing a criminal justice nightmare which could easily end in their financial, professional and emotional ruin…not to mention their loss of liberty.

It is not to be taken lightly and the mistaken belief that ,”if I just tell them my side everything will be ok” is likely not to be helpful. What the person needs is counsel. That means an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If you find yourself in such tragic circumstances, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to advise and represent you. Should you wish that attorney to be me, please feel free to set up a free initial consultation by calling (617) 206-1942.

To view the story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/07/27/2_face_alcohol_charges_in_death_of_mass_teen/

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