Protecting Your Liberty and Preserving Your Right to Operate a Vehicle
I have 40 years of hands-on courtroom experience fighting for individuals charged with operating while impaired. Call it OUI, DWI or operating under the influence but Massachusetts has not yet outlawed drinking and driving. It is illegal, and irresponsible, to operate a motor vehicle on a public road when your ability to drive safely has been impaired by too much alcohol. The real question is whether you were actually impaired at the time you were stopped. Police officers have an obligation to arrest anyone they think may, even remotely, be driving their car while impaired. It is up to a jury to make a final decision based upon evidence adduced in court to determine whether an offense has occurred. Even if you elect to not go to trial we can help minimize the future consequences of a conviction.
Having a drunk driving defense lawyer knowledgeable in this area is essential. Your income and liberty are at stake. Call us today for a free initial case evaluation.
Having a drunk driving defense lawyer knowledgeable in this area is essential. Your income and liberty are at stake. Whether you should enter into a “plea bargain” or go to trial before a jury is a complicated decision that can only be made, in an intelligent fashion, after all of the facts leading up to arrest have be discovered and analyzed.
Drunk Driving Defense
If you have been arrested an charge with an OUI offense you are not guilty until a prosecutor convinces six jurors you were impaired and could not drive safely BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Not “maybe.” Not “possibly”.
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT!
You have Constitutional rights when you go to trial. You do not have to testify. A judge will tell the jurors not to hold your silence against you.
In Massachusetts a person is presumed guilty of “driving under” if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 on a breath test reading or an officer testifies to extreme physical impairment. On conviction, even for a first offense, a person can be fined, sentenced to up to 2 ½ years in jail and can lose their drivers license for up to one year. First offenders may be able to recover limited (12 hour per day) driving privileges within a few weeks but subsequent offenders will not be able to obtain driving privileges so quickly. Refusing the Breathalyzer test will lead to long license suspension periods. “Alcohol education” programs may be available. Second offenses, and beyond, involve mandatory jail sentences and, after the passage of “Melanie’s Law” in October of 2005, the installation of ignition interlock devices upon the persons car upon the reinstatement of their license. Convictions can also lead to mandatory insurance surcharges for years to come.
Don’t be afraid to fight. Arresting you and charging you is easy. Having the prosecutor prove the case Beyond A Reasonable Doubt is harder.
My office has 40 years experience fighting for the rights of those wrongfully accused.
Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?
Individuals who are stopped should remain silent. You are under no obligation to submit to field coordination testing. You should politely refuse and stay in your vehicle until ordered out by the police. At that point the officer has already decided there is cause to arrest you and is accumulating additional evidence to use against you on your day in Court. Then comes the decision about taking a breath test.
Breath testing is a subject of continuing debate. Since Massachusetts adopted laws requiring a “guilty” finding upon a breathalyzer reading of .08 of higher the breath test is an important element of proof for the prosecutor who will be handling your case. Many attorneys used to advise to never take the breathalyzer. Bear in mind, one 12-ounce beer equals 1.25 ounces of hard liquor or one four-ounce serving of wine. One’s blood alcohol level generally increases .02 percent for each serving. Over an hour, your body clears the alcohol, through metabolism and excretion, at a typical rate of .015 percent. Many experts believe that breathalyzers are inherently incapable of properly discerning one’s true alcohol blood level.
Melanie’s Law, which went into effect October 2005, provides first offenders will lose their license for 180 days if they refuse the breath test. Second offenders lose it for three years. Third offenders for five years. Fourth offender lose it for life even if they are not ultimately convicted of drunk driving! See the penalty section outlined below.
It is my opinion most people should refuse the test as the penalties on convictions are severe. However, all first offenders, who believe their blood alcohol level is low, should take the test. Even if you fail you will be able to get a limited license back sooner then if you refuse.
Potential Fines and Incarceration
*Additional fees and costs (i.e, Head Injury Fund $250.000 and Victims of Drunk Driving Assessment $50.00) will be assessed by the court upon sentencing. This number does not reflect the cost of future motor vehicle insurance surcharges, probation supervision fees or the costs of alcohol education programs.