A Boston criminal defense lawyer who specializes in defending DUI clients pleaded not guilty today to drunk boating-related charges in an alleged incident in which a 19-year-old woman tragically lost her arm.
Attorney Benjamin P. Urbelis, 33, entered a not guilty plea in Boston Municipal Court to charges of operating a boat while under the influence causing bodily injury, negligent operation of a boat, and operating a motorboat without a legally required identification number.
Bail was set at $75,000, and he is due back in court on June 26.
Urbelis "was allegedly in command of a 29-foot boat named 'Naut Guilty' when the woman went overboard in Boston Harbor Saturday evening. As she tried to get back on the boat, her arm became caught in the propeller, authorities said," the Boston Globe reported.
Four men in their 30s, including Urbelis, were supposedly aboard the boat at the time along with nine young women and a 15-year-old boy.
Coast Guard and Boston police and fire units responded to a distress call from the pleasure craft. First responders transported the woman to a local hospital in a fire boat, and she is expected to survive, but they were unable to find her arm.
Officials described the lawyer as "drunk and belligerent" when police questioned him following the incident, WCVBreported, and that cops found large amount of alcohol on the vessel after executing a search warrant. "Urbelis initially refused to submit to field sobriety tests, but four hours later consented to a Breathylyzer and blew a blood-alcohol level of.09," the Boston Herald detailed. The legal limit in Massachusetts as in most states is.08.
Urbelis' website claims that the firm has obtained not guilty verdicts for clients in 80 percent of DUI and motor vehicle criminal cases taken to trial.
Another section of the website indicates that "many attorneys retain his services when they find themselves facing criminal charges, or when their family members need such representation." The website added that Urbelis is a part owner of a downtown Boston bar and "is well-known to many in the hospitality industry as their first call when in legal trouble."
According to a prosecutor Nicole Rimar, "the victim is in stable condition. She said the girl had jumped overboard to retrieve a seat cushion that had blown into the water sometime after 7:30 p.m., but the 30-foot Naut Guilty drifted 'and unfortunately she was hit by the propeller.'"
A fire department spokesman said first responders "did a great job in trying to give the victim a chance."
[image credit: Rumble Press]