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.

A Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Reviews MA OUI/Vehicular Homicide Case

Theary C., 26, of Lowell, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is due to be brought in to Lowell District Court today.

He is to be arraigned on a charge of MA homicide.

No, not the type of killing which dominated the news, and this blog, last week. This is not a case of premeditated murder. It is a case of vehicular homicide.

The victim?

An off duty police officer, Patrick J., 31 (hereinafter, the “Deceased”)

Along with the charge of vehicular homicide, the Defendant is being charged with operating under the influence and other MA motor vehicle violations such as failure to stop at a stop sign and an open container violation, according to reports.

You see, the allegations are that the Defendant struck and killed the Deceased, who was riding his motorcycle, around 12:23 a.m. on September 11th. The Deceased was rushed to Lowell General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The Defendant was arrested on the scene.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Many people are under the impression that accidentally killing somebody, no matter what the cause, is not a serious crime.

This impression is mistaken.

Particularly in a case like this, where OUI is involved, we are talking about a crime which carries mandatory minimum prison sentences and has a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Often, defendants charged with such a crime have a clean record. Well, that may be considered in sentencing, but if you are found guilty of the vehicular homicide as charged in this case, nobody can sentence you to anything less that the mandatory minimum sentence which can be two and a half years in state prison or one year in the house of correction.

Generally, the prosecutor will not be requesting the mandatory minimum sentences, but more time. After all, someone has died and, allegedly, you killed them.

And you did so because you were under the influence, but decided to drive anyway.

In a case such as this, there are also other aggravating circumstances. For example, the Deceased was a police officer in the prime of his life. At any sentencing hearing, victims and their loved ones are allowed to be heard to try to influence the sentencing judge. If they are there to speak on behalf of the Deceased or his family, they are typically there to request more, rather than less, of a punishment.

After all, wouldn’t you, if it were your loved one?

These cases are very sensitive at all stages and often attract media attention.

There are, of course, various defenses to these types of cases, and every case is different. However, if you find yourself charged with such a crime, you want to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side.

As you might have anticipated, I am such an attorney.

Should you wish to discuss such a matter with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

For the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/news/local/breaking_news/2010/09/police_off-duty

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