There was a boat up on the rocks in Salem Harbor the other day. This is after the pilot of the same boat rammed a nearby sailboat and ran from the scene of that incident. One would think it would be easy to avoid collisions with both moving and stationary objects in clear, broad daylight when piloting a boat. However, this task becomes exponentially more challenging when the pilot is drunk, as Bradford Billing Smith was. Mr. Smith is currently residing in the Middleton House of Correction, where he was sentenced to at least 90 days. It appears that this is not Mr. Smith’s first DUI offense, but rather his third and a thoughtful judge determined that Mr. Smith needed to be incarcerated to protect the public, given his history of dangerous behavior.
Mr. Smith’s first DUI was recorded as “continued without a finding”. This can be misleading as it looks as though he was not actually convicted. In fact, this is usually what is recorded for all first DUI offenders as long as they complete the alternative sentence. Although the sentence for first offense DUI in the Commonwealth can be up to 30 months in jail, this sentence is rarely served. Likewise the one year license suspension. First offender DUI arrestees are almost always sent to an 16 week Community Alcohol Safety Program (CASP), required to attend at least two AA meetings and a brain injury forum. In addition, they must pay standing fines and court costs. Involvement in this program usually results in no jail time and a reduced loss of license, usually 6 months.
CASP involves a two hour per week educational group that provides information in the dangers of driving and drinking. If the alternative sentence is completed, the offender’s case is “continued without a finding”. This usually works for about 90% of people arrested once for drunk driving. The 10% who do not succeed and commit this crime again are more often than not people with serious alcohol problems including many who fit the definition of alcoholic. If these people also continue to drive cars, pilot boats or other machinery, they present a danger to the community.
1st Massachusetts DUI Offense
First Drunk Driving Conviction-Maximum Penalties
Jail – Up to 30 Months
Fine – From $500 to $5,000
Fine – $250 Assessment
Fine – $50 DUI Victim Trust Fund
License Suspension – 1 Year
Court Assigned Treatment Program