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Operation Under the Influence / Negligent Operation

October, 2017

Ayer DUI defense attorney Ryan Sullivan represented a man accused of driving under the influence and operating his car negligently (so that the lives and the safety of the public were in danger). The case was tried in the Ayer District Court with officers from the Westford Police Department as the witnesses.


The police were called to a report of a car that was flipped over on a back road in Westford. Inside of the car were three white pills (believed to be lorazepam), and nearby was Attorney Sullivan’s client. The officers stated that the client was unsteady on his feet, slurring his words, his eyes were red and bloodshot, and he smelled like alcohol. The client admitted to speeding.

The client was asked to perform field sobriety tests, which the police stated that he failed. Back at the station he was given a breath test, which he also failed.


Given the charges, if convicted the punishment for the most serious offense would be two and a half years in jail, although most first time offenders receive a period of probation with mandatory classes, fines, and license loss.


Attorney Sullivan filed what is commonly referred to as a Pierre motion. Attorney Sullivan challenged the administration of the breath test, which showed “substantial deviation from regulatory compliance,” and argued the test (which showed a result nearly twice the legal limit) should not be used in evidence. The judge agreed with Attorney Sullivan’s assessment and prevented the prosecutor from bringing up that the client had failed the test.


At trial, Attorney Sullivan attacked the investigation done by the police. The argument made involved pointing out problems in the police investigation, highlighting evidence you would expect to see in an OUI that was not present, and arguing flaws in the field sobriety testing.

Additionally, Attorney Sullivan was able to show that there was absolutely no evidence presented at trial to account for how the client had been driving before the crash. Essentially Attorney Sullivan argued that to find his client was driving negligently would require the factfinder to completely guess — luckily a practice that is not allowed in our courts.

The trial lasted one day, with most of the evidence coming from the police witnesses and a short video of the booking after the client’s arrest. Attorney Sullivan argued that the evidence feel well below what our law requires for someone to be found guilty. The prosecutor argued that there was clear evidence that the client was intoxicated, primarily from the client’s admission that he was drinking before he got in the car.


Attorney Sullivan’s client was found not guilty at trial of all counts. The young man was able to go on his way, continue his work (that not only required him not to have an OUI conviction, but required that he have a license), and celebrate with his family.

If you or a loved one is charged with an OUI or DUI offense, contact Ayer DUI defense attorney Ryan Sullivan today to schedule your free consultation.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

Heather R.

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