Maine DUI Attorney Suppresses High BAC Reading, Reduces Client's DUI Charges
By: Mary Ann Pekara
A DUI charge was recently reduced and the defendant avoided jail time when the defendant's Maine DUI attorney took advantage of an arresting officer's testimonial disclosure of the suspect's alleged blood alcohol content.
Tony Gagnon was facing a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant for a May 2004 arrest in which police pulled over his weaving truck and administered an Intoxilyzer test. Police said that Gagnon had a BAC level of 0.27, which is more than three times the legal limit in Maine.
Prior to the trial, Gagnon's DUI attorney Wayne Foote successfully argued that his client's Intoxilyzer finding should not be submitted as evidence because Maine DUI laws require two tests within 0.02 percent of each other. According to Attorney District Bill Entwisle, the state only had the one test showing the 0.27 blood alcohol level because Gagnon had refused to cooperate with the test.
Foote and the prosecution later agreed without the jury present that Gagon's Intoxilyzer result should not be disclosed. Justice Andrew Mead ruled that Gagnon's blood alcohol level result could not be made known to the jury, but testimony that he had alcohol in his system would be acceptable.
Foote was later able to reduce his client's DUI charges when Deputy Sheriff Shane Campbell leaked the result of Gagnon's Intoxilyzer test during his testimony.
Campbell also testified that Gagnon failed field sobriety tests and admitted to drinking a 12-ounce beer at his friend's house, and that he saw a fifth of whiskey in the back of Gagnon's truck during the arrest.
Despite this testimony, Gagnon was able to avoid more severe DUI penalties and plead to a $1,000 fine and a 30-day suspension of his driver's license.
With a prior OUI conviction already under his belt, Gagnon would have faced an 18-month license suspension and a minimum seven days in jail if convicted for a second time, according to Maine DUI law.