Arrested for Intoxicated Driving?
Contact Our Massachusetts OUI/DUI Defense Lawyer Today
Arrested for, or charged with, OUI or DUI offenses in Massachusetts, and feel like your life’s on the verge of coming apart at the seams? That’s understandable. The criminal justice system is frightening and overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. It is normal to feel stressed out and unsure of what to do next. Take a deep breath. Your current legal problems do not have to signal the end of life as you know it or mean that the dreams you’ve worked toward are suddenly out of reach.
The right professional legal representation can make the difference. At Nate Amendola Defense, our Massachusetts OUI/DUI defense attorneys are diligent, experienced, and relentless advocates for our clients. No matter the specific circumstances that you are facing, we are here to review the charges, answer your questions, and protect your rights and your future. You do not have to go up against police and prosecutors alone. To set up a fully confidential, no obligation initial appointment with a top-rated Massachusetts drunk driving defense attorney, please contact us today.
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OUI in Massachusetts
OUI stands for Operating Under the Influence. In Massachusetts, you can be charged with Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Operating Under the Influence of Drugs. To be charged with an OUI Liquor, police must have probable cause to believe that a person with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher was operating a motor vehicle.
There are several ways for law enforcement officers to come to that conclusion. It can be by way of a breath test, a blood test, or simply observations of behavior and appearance made by the officer that is consistent with someone who is intoxicated.
To be convicted of an OUI charge in Massachusetts, prosecutors are required to prove that an individual has:
- Operated a motor vehicle
- Operated that motor vehicle on a public way
- Had their driving impaired by the consumption of alcohol
Definition of Operation of a Motor Vehicle
The first requirement to be convicted of an OUI is operating a motor vehicle. Operating goes beyond the act of just driving or causing a vehicle to move. So long as the engine in the vehicle is running, you are considered to be operating that vehicle, even if the car is in park.
Definition of a Public Way
A public way is any road that the public has access to. This can be local streets, highways, parking lots, and any other spaces that the public is free to drive on.
Definition of Impairment
Impairment occurs when a person’s consumption of alcohol has diminished their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Common OUI Charges in Massachusetts
- OUI First Offense
- OUI Second Offense
- OUI Third Offense
- OUI Fourth Offense
- OUI Fifth Offense
- OUI- Drugs
Some Defenses Used Against Drunk Driving Accusations
Some of the best defenses for OUI stem from attacking one of the required elements. The prosecution must prove all three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction for OUI.
Operation and public way are usually not difficult for the Commonwealth to prove. If an officer observed a vehicle driving or an individual in a vehicle with the engine running, this would be sufficient for the operation element. Additionally, if a reasonable inference can be drawn that a vehicle was being operated, then this element can also be satisfied. For example, if there is a car accident on the highway, it is likely safe to infer that the vehicles were being operated at some point.
The impairment element is often a good place to build a strong defense against OUI. There are several ways that prosecutors will try to prove impairment. They may utilize the results of a breath test that was taken around the time of the arrest to prove that an individual was driving while over the legal limit of .08%.
Even with evidence of a breath test, a strong OUI defense can be to attack the test’s validity and the way it was performed. For example, there is a fifteen (15) minute waiting period that a person must be observed before taking the breath test. If the test is administered incorrectly due to a failure to adhere to that rule, the breath test results could be suppressed; that means they can’t be used against the individual.
In a case without a breath test, prosecutors often rely solely on the observations of the officer. These observations and behaviors can often be attributed to other causes, causes that are not indicative of impairment. For example, an officer may say that an individual has glassy, bloodshot eyes. That characterization of the way an individual’s eyes may look could be from tiredness, illness, crying, or dry eyes. Attacking the characterizations given by officers to prove impairment is often one of the most successful ways to defend against an OUI charge.
This is not an exhaustive list of the defenses to OUI that can be used in a case. Each case is unique and can present different ways to mount a defense. Call Nate Amendola for a free and private consultation on your case to explore more defenses to OUI.
Frequently Asked Questions
OUI FAQs in Massachusetts
Am I Required to Take the Breathalyzer in MA?
No. You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Massachusetts – you cannot be forced against your will to submit to a breath test. However, Massachusetts is also an “implied consent” state. This means that when you are issued a license to drive, you are automatically consenting to take a breathalyzer if asked by an officer. This doesn’t mean that you must take the breath test when arrested for OUI. What it does mean, however, is that by refusing, you will face license loss for reneging on that implied promise you made when you got your license. For a first-time OUI charge, the license loss for refusing the breath test is 180 days.
Am I Required to Perform Field Sobriety Tests if an Officer Asks?
No. You have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests if asked by an officer. You should politely and respectfully inform the officer that you don’tt wish to perform any tests or answer any questions. The only information you must provide when pulled over is your license and proof of vehicle registration.
Am I Going to Jail if I’m Convicted of an OUI?
There is always the possibility of serving jail time if convicted of the charge of operating under the influence, but it is never guaranteed, and for a first-time offender with no criminal record, it is unlikely. A common result for a first-time offender who does not wish to take the case to trial is a continuance without a finding, along with a loss of license, fines, and participation in an alcohol education course. In order to negotiate with the Commonwealth to get this result, you will need a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
What is the Difference Between an OUI and DUI in MA?
There is no difference in Massachusetts between an OUI (operating under the influence) and a DUI (driving under the influence).
Should I Give a Statement to the Police After a Drunk Driving Arrest?
No – especially not without consulting a criminal defense attorney first. You have a Constitutional right to remain silent, which means you cannot be forced to speak or make statements to an officer. The fact that you chose not to say anything can’t be used against you either. On the other hand, anything you do say to the officer can be used against you later.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Massachusetts OUI Defense Lawyer Today
Are you looking for top-notch criminal defense representation for your OUI charge in Massachusetts? Look no further than our team at Nate Amendola Defense. We are committed to providing our clients with the best legal counsel to keep them out of jail and protect their future. To schedule a confidential and no-obligation consultation, you can either reach out to us online or call our office directly at 781-650-6785. Our skilled attorneys have extensive experience defending OUI charges across the state of Massachusetts, so you can trust us to fight for your rights and deliver results.
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