Commonwealth v. WolfeAnnotate this Case
In a jury trial of an operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OUI) case, a trial judge should not give a jury instruction that specifically mentions the absence of breathalyzer or other alcohol-test evidence unless the defendant requests it.
Defendant was convicted of one count of OUI. During trial, the jury was instructed about the absence of alcohol-test evidence in the judge’s final instructions over Defendant’s objection. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the conviction and remanded for a new trial, holding (1) giving the objected-to instruction regarding alcohol-test evidence constituted error; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the error was prejudicial.