SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 1, 2014

Court upholds drunken-driving conviction

SALEM — Even before a jury convicted him of his fourth offense of drunken driving in 2010, William Cyr was trying to get the charges against him thrown out.

But this week, the Appeals Court once again rejected Cyr’s claim that the case should be tossed because he wasn’t immediately given a ticket at the scene of the motorcycle crash on Route 128 in Gloucester in June 2009.

Cyr, of Salem, who is in his early 60s, is currently wrapping up a 31/2- to 41/2-year prison term.

On Monday, the Appeals Court, in an unpublished decision, concluded that the state trooper who did not immediately ticket Cyr after he crashed near the Essex Avenue/Route 133 exit was justified in waiting, because Cyr, who showed signs of intoxication at the scene, was seriously injured and needed to be taken to a hospital and because the trooper wanted to obtain a warrant for a blood sample.

While the law normally requires someone being charged with a traffic offense to be handed a ticket at the scene, the law also allows exceptions when there is a need for further investigation.

Prior to his trial, Cyr and his attorney argued for dismissal of the charges based on the argument that given that the trooper had already suspected Cyr of drunken driving (or riding) at the time of the crash, he had no reason to delay issuing the ticket.

A Salem Superior Court judge rejected that claim.

After his conviction, Cyr argued that the judge’s ruling had been in error.

But the Appeals Court disagreed.

“We agree with the judge that further time (one week) was reasonably necessary for (Trooper Anthony) Vorias to apply for and execute a search warrant for the defendant’s blood alcohol test results as proof that the defendant’s operation was impaired by the consumption of alcohol and in excess of statutorily prescribed limits,” the court wrote.

“We reject the defendant’s hypertechnical argument that because the police possessed the probable cause requisite to issuance of the search warrant for the defendant’s blood test results, they necessarily had probable cause to issue a citation for OUI and failed to do so in accordance with the statute,” said the court.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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