20 Year Old Youth Found NOT Guilty of DWI in Newburyport District Court

On June 9, 2012 FE and a friend drove to Hampton Beach, NH and spent the evening at a club. FE was age 20. When they left the club in the early morning hours of June 10, 2012 the friend was too drunk to drive and asked FE to drive the friend’s pick up truck. FE agreed and drove and headed down Rt 495S toward Lowell. FE was tired and pulled into the rest area on the southbound side of Rt. 495 in Merrimac, MA. There was a thirty pack of Coors Light on the rear floor. There was an open 12oz. Keystone Beer in a rear door pocket. There was also a 12 oz. Coors Light can (open) on the rear floor behind the center console. There was a cooler with ice in the back. After pulling into the rest area and parking laterally across three parking spaces, FE put the truck in park and both FE and his friend fell asleep with the engine running. The State Police entered the rest area and observed the truck.After waiting about ten minutes the Trooper approached the pick up to do a “wellness check” on the occupants. He banged on the doors and windows and got no response from the sleeping occupants. The Trooper then opened the drive’s door and FE, who was sleeping, started to fall out of the truck but was caught by the Trooper. FE awoke at that point.The truck wreaked of beer as did both occupants. The Trooper got FE out of the truck and administered Field Sobriety Tests. FE did well on the nine step heel to toe walk, he did poorly on the one legged stand, he did fair on the counting backwards test. He failed the horizontal gauze nystagmus test (HGNT). He was then arrested. He was brought to the Newbury State Police Barracks where a breathalyzer test was administered. The result was a .079! This gets rounded down to a .07 which is in the gray area in Massachusetts. On October 2, 2012 the case went to trial in Newburyport District Court. Attorney Robert Lewin represented FE. Attorney Lewin recommended to FE that the case be tried jury-waived (to a judge alone without a jury). The case was tried to a judge alone. The Judge excluded the results of the HGNT. The trial took about 20 minutes and the Judge returned a finding of NOT guilty. Because he was under 21, FE still loses his license for 180 days because his breath test result was over .02.

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