Lawyer On Boat Called ‘Naut Guilty’ Arrested for OUI
This week in regrettable boat names: A defense lawyer and alleged operator of a vessel named “Naut Guilty” was charged with an OUI after a passenger fell overboard and severed her arm on the boat’s propeller. The lawyer, himself a specialist in cases of operating under the influence, now finds himself relying on his own legal advice.
The details of the accident, as reported in the Boston Herald, are tragic and grim. Police allege that Benjamin P. Urbelis, 33, of Charlestown was driving the boat Saturday night when a 19-year-old woman fell overboard, caught her arm in the prop, and severed it just below the shoulder. The Coast Guard responded to an emergency call and helped rush the girl to receive treatment.
Violent though it is, the story has really been fueled in local media by the irony of the driver’s profession and the boat’s name. Urbelis blogs on a website called “MassachusettsDUILawyersBlog.com,” where he offers advice on, well, OUIs.
A FOX25 reporter tweets that Urbelis refused breathalyzer and field sobriety tests and was arrested on officer observations only. This is presumably because he was adhering to his own legal advice. He has taken to his blog to suggest others suspected of an OUI might do the same:
It is in your best interest NOT to help the prosecution build their case against you. In fact, if you refuse to take the breath test or field sobriety tests, or if you refuse to do both, the fact that you were asked and subsequently chose to refuse these tests CANNOT BE USED AGAINST YOU IN COURT! As far as the jury is concerned, you were never even offered the chance to take these tests. By helping to set yourself up for an acquittal on an OUI charge, you are helping to avoid the significant consequences of a conviction or a Continuance Without a Finding
There is, then, an interesting aspect to this story that extends beyond the prurient fascination with the horrifying. We are, after all, watching an OUI lawyer show us exactly how he might want his clients to behave were they suspected of an OUI in the wake of an accident.
Plus, we’re doing so at a time when the Massachusetts Bar Association happens to share in his suspicion that the breathalyzer test can occasionally result in unfairly damning those suspected of OUIs. This April, the organization urged the state to stop introducing the test results as evidence until they complete an investigation into their reliability. What happens if you refuse a test and take your chances in court? We’re about to get an example.