STATE v. J.M.
Charges: OUI (.16%)
Mandatory Minimum Penalty: 48 hours jail; $500.00 fine; 150 day loss of license
Maximum Penalty: 364 days jail; $2,000.00 fine; 150 day loss of license
Summary: Client was stopped for allegedly drifting over a fog line numerous times, making an illegal right hand turn and nearly failing to negotiate a curve in the road. Client performed flawlessly during field sobriety tests but was arrested anyway. He was brought back to the PD and given a breath test where he blew a .16% BrAC.
Result: We picked a jury and went to trial. Over the course of two days, we learned that the breath testing protocols in Maine are flawed, the machine is NOT specific for alcohol, the machine was testing incredibly higher than it should have been and the client was exposed to volatile hydrocarbons, which mimicked alcohol. Sadly, the jury deadlocked and hung; 7-5 in favor of NOT GUILTY. The jurors who decided in favor of guilty were convinced of my client's guilt, largely because he smiled on the stand (he was nervous) and therefore, he must have been arrogant. To say I am disappointed with this jury's result is an understatement. It's one thing to vote guilty based on the evidence. It's a whole other thing to vote guilty based on your personal prejudices and evidence not admitted on the record. Nonetheless, the State didn't want to retry the case so they offered a Driving to Endanger which my client took and pled NO CONTEST to. It was a tough pill for my client to swallow as he's maintained his innocence from day one... and quite frankly, I believe him.