Attorney Chris Spring’s client was found not guilty today of operating under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment following her trial in Ayer District Court.
The defendant allegedly smelled like alcohol while she was working, causing her supervisors to confront her near the end of the day. The defendant denied drinking and agreed to submit to a Breathalyzer test. She blew a .14 and was told by a police officer not to drive home. The defendant’s supervisor drove her to pick up her infant son from daycare and then drove her to the defendant’s mother’s apartment. However, the defendant did not want to go inside because her mother had been sick. Therefore, the defendant told her supervisor she would call her brother for a ride home and wait, with her baby, in her car in her mother’s parking lot. The supervisor drove away, but became worried the defendant would drive herself home. When the supervisor turned around and drove back toward the defendant’s mother’s apartment, the defendant was pulling her car onto the road. She drove a few blocks and pulled into a community center parking lot. The supervisor pulled in behind the defendant and asked why she had driven, and the defendant said she didn’t want her mother to look out the window and see her.
The supervisor called the cops and an officer responded to the parking lot. He immediately smelled alcohol emanating from the defendant’s breath and asked her to submit to field sobriety tests. The defendant agreed, and as she exited her car she stumbled. The defendant performed the nine-step walk and turn test and the one-legged stand test, and in the officer’s opinion she failed both. The officer then asked the defendant to recite the alphabet, which she was able to do. The officer placed the defendant under arrest and charged her with operating under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment (for having a child in the car when she was allegedly under the influence). During the booking process, the defendant submitted to another Breathalyzer test and blew a .12.
During the defendant’s trial, her two coworkers and two police officers all testified that she should not have been driving because of her alcohol ingestion. Attorney Spring confronted the two coworkers with inconsistencies between their trial testimony and their written statements, and later argued that their testimony had not been credible as a result of the inconsistencies. The police officer who administered the field sobriety tests acknowledged the defendant had told him prior to the tests that she has a history of knee injuries. Despite her medical history, the defendant had been able to walk heel-to-toe on all of her steps during the nine-step walk and turn test. The officer also testified that he never had any problem understanding the defendant and she did not speak with slurred speech. Attorney Spring played portions of the booking video to establish the defendant did not appear to be unsteady on her feet and was responsive to the officers’ questions. The Breathalyzer readings were not admitted at trial as a result of Attorney Spring’s pretrial motion to preclude them.
The defendant was found not guilty of both operating under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment.