Saturday September 15, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Central Berkshire District Court Judge on Friday found a Pittsfield man charged with his fourth drunken driving offense is not a danger to the community, but still set bail for the defendant at $25,000 surety bond.

Donald E. Mayotte, 47, of Pittsfield, had been held without bail since Wednesday when he pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, fourth offense; driving with a suspended license; and failure to stop when he was arraigned in District Court.

Although Mayotte has been charged with drunken driving for the fourth time, court records indicate that he has been convicted of that offense five previous times. It was unclear on Friday whether the District Attorney’s office would seek to amend the most recent charge against Mayotte.

According to state police, Mayotte was stopped by a state trooper at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday after he failed to stop for a stop sign at the intersection of Burbank and Cherry streets in Pittsfield.

Police allege Mayotte admitted to drinking three beers that day, and that his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. A breathalyzer test given to Mayotte at the scene found his blood alcohol level to be .123, according to the report. When tested at the police station, Mayotte registered blood alcohol levels of .105 and .108. The legal limit in Massachusetts is .08.

On Friday, a hearing before District Attorney Fredric D. Rutberg was held to determine whether Mayotte was a danger to the community. Assistant District Attorney Laila Atta cited the number of Mayotte’s previous drunken driving convictions, which go back to 1994, and his 10 other convictions for driving with either a suspended or revoked license as the reasons why he should be considered a danger to the community.

But, Rutberg chided the prosecution, calling the charges against Mayotte "very serious", and telling the prosecution it "hadn’t even come close" to providing enough evidence to show that Mayotte was dangerous.

In a dangerousness hearing, a judge must determine whether a defendant represents a danger to the community based on the evidence provided by the prosecution. In this case, Rutberg declared that Mayotte did not fit that description. A defendant can be held without the right to bail for 60 days if a judge determines he fits the legal definition of being a danger to the community.

But citing Mayotte’s continued disregard for court orders, Rutberg set bail for the defendant at $2,500 cash/$25,000 surety bond.

Mayotte’s attorney Glenn W. Keiderling Jr. told the court that his client was a hard-working family man who had suffered a leg injury in 2008.

He said the police report indicated Mayotte had passed two of five field sobriety tests given by law enforcement authorities when he was arrested on Tuesday.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for next month.