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November 13, 2012

Attorney jailed for violating probation

A former North Andover attorney who avoided jail time when he pleaded guilty to a serious hit and run accident in Lawrence is behind bars after he failed alcohol tests on Halloween morning.

Richard Heartquist, 43, of Newburyport, was taken to Middleton Jail on Nov. 2 — two days after he tested positive for alcohol use and a probation violation warrant was issued for him, according to court records.

Heartquist, whose law license has been indefinitely suspended, will remain held without bail at Middleton Jail, until at least Nov. 28, when a hearing is scheduled in Peabody District Court. Heartquist was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended to two years. On Nov. 28, a judge has the authority to impose the jail sentence.

Court records show that at 6:35 a.m. on Oct. 31, Heartquist’s blood alcohol levels were measured at .055, .053, .052 and .053, according to court papers. A person is arrested for drunken driving when their blood alcohol level is .08 or above, according to Massachusetts law.

Heartquist took the alcohol tests on a sobrietor, a breath testing device he was court ordered to have installed in his home. The sobrietor is a breath test device that connects with a telephone and a voice recognition test is used to make sure it’s actually Heartquist who was giving the sample.

After the alcohol was detected, probation officer Anton Mataragos sought the probation violation warrant. Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor found Heartquist in violation of probation and sent him to Middleton Jail on Nov. 2.

As of Oct. 1, Heartquist had his law license indefinitely suspended, according to an order issued by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

He was ordered to notify all of his clients and associated courts of his suspension and the matter was referred to the Board of Bar Overseers “for such further proceedings as the board deems appropriate,” according to the order.

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