State of Maine v. R.J.: OUI Defense
by John on January 6, 2016
Blood / Alcohol Content (BAC): .21%
Defense: Chewing Tobacco in Mouth and Lack of Credibility of Police
Defense Attorney: John Scott Webb
Offense: Operating Under the Influence (OUI, DUI, DWI)
Maximum Sentence: 364 days in Jail (minimum 48 hours in jail, 90 day license suspension, $400.00 fine)
Client, according to arresting officer, was weaving for over a mile with varied speeds during travel. Client tried to perform field sobriety tests but failed badly.
Officer had been working multiple shifts that day. Officer took client in for a test and had another officer conduct breath test. Result was .21% blood alcohol content. Second Officer said he had checked client’s mouth before the test, client took the stand and said it never happened. Client stated he had chewing tobacco in his mouth the whole evening. Second officer never wrote a report, but claimed “I always check the mouth”.
State’s expert forensic chemist confirmed need to inspect mouth and irrigate mouth if needed. Defense used state’s forensic chemist to explain to jury the importance of using breath samples that are free from potential contamination from a “second source” such as the residual mouth alcohol contained in the “Skoal” chewing tobacco. Although it was “Super Bowl Sunday”, client admitted to use of alcohol, being lost and arguing with family earlier in the evening.
Defense showed impairment was limited to field sobriety tests and not other tasks. Hence, client was being truthful about use of “Skoal” product.Verdict: