Under Massachusetts law (Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24), it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The criminal charge is officially referred to as operating under the influence (OUI) in the Commonwealth. Though, you may also hear it called a DUI or DWI.
You have the right to defend yourself against an OUI charge. Unfortunately, too many people make errors that undermine their own rights and interests. In this article, our Massachusetts OUI defense lawyer highlights five of the most common mistakes that you need to avoid in a drunk driving case.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Rights Regarding OUI Tests (Field Sobriety and Chemical)
One common mistake people make when facing an intoxicated driving charge is not knowing their rights regarding OUI tests. In Massachusetts, you are not legally required to take field sobriety tests. That you declined is not evidence of your guilt. Though, poor results in a field sobriety test may be used against you in court. The reality is that field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable.
On the other hand, chemical tests—breathalyzer tests and blood tests—are required under the Massachusetts implied consent law. While you can technically refuse, doing so will trigger an automatic suspension of your license. Further, you can still face a criminal OUI charge even if there are no breath/blood test results.
It’s not too late
Mistake #2: Making a Statement Directly to the Arresting Officer
Another mistake people often make is speaking directly to the arresting officer without legal representation. Anything you say can be used against you in court, and even seemingly harmless statements can hurt your case. Instead, it is important to remain calm and polite. Still, refrain from discussing the details of the incident with the officer. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to remain silent. That you declined to answer questions from police (or prosecutors) cannot be used against you in court as evidence of your guilt. Assert your right to remain silent and request to speak to a Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible.
Mistake #3: Not Taking Immediate Action to Save Your License (Administrative Suspension)
Did you know that your driver’s license can be suspended at the administrative level based solely on an OUI charge alone? In other words, you could lose your license before you are ever convicted of a drunk driving offense. You can take action to stop this process—at least for the time. In Massachusetts, a motorist arrested and charged with an OUI offense has ten days to request a hearing in an administrative license suspension case. A defense lawyer can help you do so, thereby preserving your license.
Mistake #4: Waiting Too Long to Seek Professional Legal Representation
Be proactive. The sooner you get a top Massachusetts drunk driving defense lawyer on your side, the better position that you will be in to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Delaying the search for professional legal representation can significantly undermine your case. An experienced Massachusetts OUI defense attorney is invaluable when it comes to building a strong defense, protecting your rights, and navigating the complexities of the law. Waiting too long can result in lost evidence, missed deadlines, and reduced opportunities for negotiation.
Mistake #5: Accepting a Plea Agreement that is Not In Your Best Interests
Should you aggressively defend an OUI charge? Should you consider taking a plea agreement? The answer depends on many different factors, including the strength of the case and the terms of the deal being offered by the prosecution. A plea agreement in an OUI case should always be reviewed and negotiated by an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer. Accepting a plea agreement without fully understanding the implications is a big mistake. An experienced OUI attorney in Massachusetts can help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, as well as any potential plea offers.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Top Massachusetts OUI Defense Attorney
At Nate Amendola Defense, our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer has extensive experience handling OUI/DUI cases. We are here to be your first and last call. Our law firm helps good people navigate bad legal situations. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your confidential, no obligation consultation with a top attorney. With an office in Norwell, we defend OUI/DUI charges throughout the region, including in Plymouth, Quincy, and Barnstable.
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