A Duxbury man with seven prior OUI convictions in Massachusetts and who was recently arrested on a new charge, was found to be dangerous by a judge and is being held in jail, the Patriot Ledger reports.
Being charged with OUI in Massachusetts is a serious offense, but a driver’s past can make a new charge even more difficult to deal with. That’s because in Massachusetts, prior OUI convictions can make future penalties for a drunken driver more severe.
Having past convictions affect a future sentence may not seem fair, but that’s how the laws are written. The tiered nature of the state’s drunk driving law make it critical to fight each charge. A first-offense DUI in Massachusetts is often the most beatable. Taking a plea today can put your future at risk tomorrow.
In order to prove a person is facing their eighth OUI charge in Massachusetts, the prosecution must be able to prove the past convictions. In many cases, a person may have been charged and convicted of a drunken driving related crime in a different state, many years ago. The court case recording system in many states wasn’t very good, so prosecutors sometimes have difficulty proving past convictions. In some cases, the documentation is lost, deleted or doesn’t show the necessary information to prove a conviction.
In this case, prosecutors believe a Duxbury man has seven prior OUI convictions and he was recently arrested on another OUI charge. The man will be held in a jail until his next court date in mid-February.
Mark Dirsa was ordered held in a Plymouth jail after a Plymouth District Court judge ruled that he’s “dangerous” and must be held in custody. He was arrested Dec. 28 in Kingston after police allege he crashed into a sedan.
He is next scheduled to appear in court Feb. 13 for a pretrial hearing. The newspaper reports that if he is convicted of OUI he would face a lifetime driver’s license suspension as well as more than two years in jail.
The newspaper reports that state records show the 54-year-old has an eight page-long driving infraction record. But his prior drunken driving convictions go back to the 1980s and 1990s. Based on the state’s lifetime look-back law, all previous convictions can be counted at sentencing.
Police say the man is dependent on oxycodone and told police that he took the drug on the morning of the crash. Police reported that they found 11 pill bottles in his truck’s glove compartment. He also faces charges of falsifying a prescription last year to obtain oxycodone.
The newspaper article doesn’t provide additional details about why police suspect he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Simply admitting to taking a pain pill the morning of an afternoon accident doesn’t rise to the standard of proof for an OUI conviction. Unless other testing was done to show this wasn’t simply an accident, the defendant may have an opportunity to fight this charge.
Michael DelSignore is a criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts, who represents clients facing drunk driving charges, as well as other misdemeanor and felony offenses.
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