DUI 4th OFFENSE – DISMISSED

On November 8, 2012 in the early afternoon, DB, a 47 year old roofing company foreman, was pulled over by the Malden Police on the basis of an anonymous tip. He had just pulled out of the parking lot of a local bar in Malden where he had been drinking for about one and a half hours. He was asked to exit his vehicle which he did. He was asked to perform field sobriety tests and he refused. He was asked to submit to a breath test and he refused. Based on the observations of his condition by the police he was arrested and charged with operating under the influence. He was brought to the Malden PD where a check of his criminal record revealed that he had three prior convictions dating back to 1984. As a result of his refusing the chemical test he was immediately subjected to a lifetime loss of his license. Massachusetts law imposes a mandatory lifetime loss of license on anyone who refuses a chemical test following an arrest for OUI if that person has three prior convictions for OUI in his lifetime at the time of the arrest. DB also faced a potential 5 year state prison sentence or a 2 1/2 year sentence to the House of Correction. An OUI 4th offense carries a mandatory minimum 2 year sentence of which 1 year must be served before parole eligibility. DB retained Attorney Robert Lewin.
Attorney Lewin immediately got the police reports and reviewed them with great care. Attorney Lewin obtained the turret tapes from the Malden PD to hear the dispatch information that was given out to the officers in the street and in particular to the officers involved in pulling DB’s car over. The stop of DB’s car by the police did not seem right. Before the police can stop a motor vehicle on the roadway they must have a “reasonable suspicion based upon articulable facts that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed”. The police were claiming that they had received a “tip” that a man who appeared to be drunk was entering a motor vehicle behind the bar and was headed out onto the street. When the police dispatcher first gave out the call he said that a bank teller had witnessed the drunk man getting into the motor vehicle; when the officers pulled DB over they radioed the dispatcher as to who had given out the tip. The dispatcher radioed back that it was a bank customer. This created a real doubt about whether a tip had actually been received. Attorney Lewin filed a Motion for a Copy of the 911 Tape; no recording (such as a 911 call) of the tip was ever found or produced. Attorney Lewin prepared and filed a Motion to Suppress all the evidence obtained by the police following the stop of DB’s vehicle. This included the identity of DB as the operator of the vehicle and all observations of his condition. On January 6, 2014 (some 14 months after his arrest) there was a full evidentiary hearing in Malden Court on the Motion to Suppress the evidence. The Judge hearing the Motion made the following findings and rulings: “The police had no reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant’s motor vehicle; the so-called reporting party was never identified; no description of the operator of the vehicle was ever furnished; there was no evidence of any reasonable suspicion to stop the driver of the Defendant’s motor vehicle.” The Judge then granted the Motion to Suppress ALL the evidence the police obtained following the stop of DB on the street. In other words the Judge threw out all the evidence on the grounds that the stop of DB’s motor vehicle was illegal. The Middlesex County DA’s Office filed a Motion to Reconsider which the Judge denied. On March 21, 2014 the DA’s Office filed a “Nolle Prosequi”. A “Nolle Prosequi” is a termination of the prosecution of a criminal case by the Commonwealth. The “Nolle Prosequi” reads as follows: “The motion to suppress was allowed and all evidence was suppressed. As a result, the Commonwealth cannot proceed.” Two hours ago DB and Attorney Robert Lewin walked out of Malden Court. DB, with a big smile on his face, thanked Attorney Lewin and asked Attorney Lewin to send him a copy of the “Nolle Prosequi” so that he could frame it.