Drunk Driving, OUI & DWI

Every year, thousands of people consume alcohol or drugs and choose to operate their cars or other modes of transportation. The driver often thinks that they are less impaired than they are, or that they are close enough to their destination that they can “make it” there on their own.

If someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their motor skills and reflexes may be different than when they are sober, impacting their ability to drive or operate machinery safely. In the worst cases, a car accident occurs which causes serious injuries or death to the driver or others on the road. In other cases, drivers may seem to be driving erratic and get pulled over or arrested. In many states, this is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI). Massachusetts calls this OUI: operating under the influence.

If you operated a vehicle and were charged with OUI, consider contacting an attorney to provide you with guidance on your rights and how to approach your case. These charges can carry heavy sentences and an experienced attorney, like the team at Altman & Altman, can help. Contact us for a free consultation today online or by phone at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199- we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Per Massachusetts law, any adult over the age of 21 can have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit of 0.08 and legally operate a vehicle. If you are under the age of 21, it is against the law to consume any alcohol; if you were pulled over and you had a BAC reading of 0.02 or higher, then you would automatically be charged with OUI.

How Does the State Measure BAC?

The police often use a field sobriety test along with a breathalyzer test to measure the amount of alcohol in your body. With a field sobriety test, the police may ask you to walk a straight line and turn, say the ABCs backwards, and stand on one leg. All of these tests are meant to test your ability to balance and coordination. To take the breathalyzer test, you blow into a tube attached to a machine, and an infrared light analyzes the amount of alcohol in the air in your lungs, and prints out a BAC number. The machine then tests your breath a second time, and if the numbers are within .02 of each other, the test is considered valid.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for 120 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and a year for a third offense.

I was Arrested for Drunk Driving. What Happens Now?

After you are arrested, arraigned, and bail is posted, you will be given a date to appear in court to formally hear the charges against you so you can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

If you were given a breathalyzer test and didn’t pass, your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days. If you refused to take the breathalyzer test, your license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. During both periods, you will not be permitted to drive.

A few weeks later, a pre-trial conference will occur where you may be offered a plea bargain. You should talk to your attorney to decide whether or not to take the plea that has been offered. If you do take the plea deal, you will be sentenced. If you don’t, your case will go to trial at a future point in time. If convicted, sentences will range from.

Possible Penalties if You are Found Guilty of OUI in Massachusetts

The penalties for driving under the influence grow with each offense. Below is a table that includes examples of penalties after several offenses:

First OffenseJail time: up to 2.5 yearsFine: $500 – $5,000License suspension up to 1 year
Second OffenseJail time: 30 days – 2.5 yearsFine: $600 – $1,000License suspension up to 2 yearsRequirement to install interlock device into car, disables car when BAC is 0.02+Probation, inpatient treatment
Third OffenseJail time: up to 5 yearsFine: up to $15,000License suspension up to 8 yearsMassachusetts can take your car from you and sell it

Common Mistakes Made After Being Arrested for a OUI or DWI

  • Treating the charge lightly. If found guilty, a conviction will affect your driving habits, your insurance rates, and you could go to jail. Skipping out on court time will bring a jail sentence as well.
  • Driving with a suspended license. Doing so can land you in jail.
  • Discussing the case with anyone but your attorney. Anything you say might be used against you in court.
  • Not hiring the best attorney for your case.

Your right to drive is critical to earning a living for yourself and your family. If you have been charged with a drunk driving offense, it is important to seek reputable legal representation immediately to learn your rights and how to protect them.

At Altman & Altman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, our successful OUI defense lawyers have more than 50 years of experience, and take the time necessary to gather all the facts of your case and advise you of your rights and your defense options. Our drunk driving defense attorneys will try your case in court when a trial is in your best interests. They will thoroughly investigate your case and explore all avenues of defense, including obtaining expert opinions when necessary on breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. For an effective OUI defense and free case evaluation, contact an OUI defense lawyer at Altman & Altman.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog – OUI/Drunk Driving

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