In my previous posts on the subject of what can happen when a defendant who has been sentenced to probation, violates one or more of the terms of his probation agreement, I discussed the case of Massachusetts state senator Anthony Galluccio. Galluccio was sentenced to probation recently for leaving the scene of an accident last October 4 2009, in which a 13-year-old boy was I injured. Because Galluccio had previously been convicted twice on Massachusetts drunk driving charges, (one of which he had been pardoned for) and because investigators suspected that alcohol was involved in the October 2009 vehicular accident where Galluccio left the scene, a judge placed Galluccio under house arrest and placed him on probation. One of the terms of that probation order, was that Galluccio abstain completely from ingesting alcohol. To monitor his compliance with that order, an electronic alcohol monitoring device (called a “Sobrietor”) was installed in Galluccio’s home, and he was required to submit to random alcohol testing with that device.
Three days after receiving that sentence, Galluccio tested positive (on three separate tests) for alcohol. He was then arrested for a Massachusetts probation violation. As part of his defense, he initially claimed that his toothpaste caused a false alcohol reading (he later abandoned that defense). At his court appearance earlier this week, Galluccio showed up in court with two defense lawyers, several public relations representatives, and expert witnesses testifying on his behalf that the “Sobrietor” accuracy might be questionable.
The result? Handcuffs and a trip to a Billerica jail cell for the next 12 months. This very public story illustrates just how serious probation agreements are. Especially when it comes to Massachusetts OUI charges and alcohol abuse. Some defendants think that they can ignore probation agreements – but they’re serious business. The judge in this case, Matthew J. Nestor of Cambridge District Court, had (generally speaking,) three options in front of him, after hearing Galluccio’s defense at this probation revocation hearing: 1) Terminate probation, 2) Re-probate him with more serious conditions – including mandatory alcohol treatment at an inpatient detox center – or 3) Impose a one-year jail sentence. Galluccio and his lawyers probably thought he’d get one of the first two sentences. But as a Dedham Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer, I can assure you: With multiple offenders, luck always runs out.
The buzz in the Massachusetts media right now, is whether Galluccio’s sentence for this probation violation was too harsh. Some observers, including some criminal defense lawyers, are saying that a defendant who wasn’t a public figure would have received a lesser sentence. As a Boston criminal defense lawyer, I’ve seen these cases go either way. Perhaps it’s true that because Galluccio is a high-profile figure, the judge thought that a very powerful message could be sent about alcohol abuse and probation violations with this sentence. Regardless, this case makes clear: Massachusetts DUI/OUI charges are dealt with very seriously, and any probation violations involving alcohol won’t be tolerated lightly.