Have You Been Accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?
Unlike most criminal offenses, which demand a specific intent to break regulations, drunk driving charges can result from an individual lapse in judgment. When you yourself have been accused of drunk driving, known in Massachusetts as Operating Under the Influence (OUI attorney), do not make the mistake of assuming you’ve to plead guilty. In some instances, there are actually valid defenses available that can defeat OUI charges.
police officer with man performing field sobriety test
Following an OUI charge, a good thing you can do for the case, apart from not incriminating yourself in any way, is to get hold of an experienced defense lawyer. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our legal team represents individuals throughout Massachusetts and south New Hampshire. Our OUI defense lawyers are prepared to examine every detail surrounding your Operating Under the Influence charge and protect your legal rights every step of the way.
Challenging the Case Against You
Along with petitioning for minimum penalty, your defense counsel should closely examine the details of your case. There is a very strict law enforcement procedure for investigating drunk driving charges and, if this procedure falters in any way, it can indicate a dismissal of the charge against you. Everything from probable cause to the maintenance and upkeep of the breathalyzer in question features a bearing on these cases.
Mistakes in BAC Testing
In both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a non-commercial driver is considered to be “underneath the influence” of alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher (Note: commercial drivers nationwide are believed to be in violation of OUI if their BAC is .04% or higher). BAC is decided primarily through three several types of tests: urine tests, blood tests, and breath tests. However, these tests aren’t always completely accurate, and all three have the capability for error. Whether it’s human error or even a miscalibrated sobriety test device, there cannot be complete certainty with your test results simply because they aren’t foolproof.
Field Sobriety Testing
Along with being asked to complete a BAC test, law enforcement officers can ask those alleged to be driving drunk to complete a range of field sobriety tests. However, it should be noted that field sobriety tests are voluntary tests that you may not have to perform. Granted, the officer on scene will more than likely arrest you for failing to complete the test, but refusing to complete the test may help keep you from further incriminating yourself.
If field sobriety tests aren’t performed properly, they can provide evidence of intoxication even when there is none. In reality, the most important thing to bear in mind with field sobriety tests is they are designed to get you to fail. Judgment rests entirely on the shoulders of law enforcement officers conducting the tests, and whatever that officer’s individual interpretation of your test results is may have a significant affect on the charges being filed against you.
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- Felony vs. Misdemeanor OUI Penalties
- Penalties for Multiple Offenses
An OUI is known as a misdemeanor in Massachusetts unless it is your third or maybe more such offense, or when it involves serious bodily injury or death. A felony conviction carries a penalty of more than two and a half years in jail and the mandatory submission of a DNA sample.
Penalties for OUI with Injury
Any DUI or OUI charge is serious, but an OUI that creates injury is an especially serious offense.
OUI with serious bodily injury could be charged as a felony or even a misdemeanor, and the distinction between both offenses is minimal. Prosecutors will typically include misdemeanor charges as a lesser-included offense combined with felony charge, rendering it more likely that they can secure a conviction. If you’ve been charged, you’re not only facing administrative penalties – you’re facing real criminal consequences that could run you your freedom and future.