If you have been arrested for drunk driving or Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts you are facing very serious consequences including a criminal conviction on your record, loss of driver’s license, costly fines and fees, potential jail time and even loss of out of state travel.
Many people question whether you need a lawyer for a Massachusetts OUI charge. You absolutely need a lawyer that is experienced in drunk driving defense fighting for you. An experienced OUI knows what the police and prosecutors need to prove to get a conviction.
Attorney Patrick Donovan is a premier Massachusetts DUI defense lawyer who has successfully defended many OUI cases in Massachusetts. Patrick Donovan is a former prosecutor who in addition to many state-sponsored prosecution training was trained at the National Prosecutors College. Attorney Donovan uses that training to get the best result for each of his clients.
If you have been charged with an OUI DUI DWI in Massachusetts, you need an experienced lawyer to fight for you. An OUI Attorney can assess the strength of the state’s case and weigh the evidence the police have against you. An attorney who practices OUI defense can help you decide whether it is worth it to fight the case or enter a plea agreement. An OUI attorney can help minimize the very harsh penalties Massachusetts puts on drunk drivers.
What is an O.U.I. in Massachusetts?
O.U.I. stands for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol. O.U.I. is the same as DWI or DUI. O.U.I. is the term Massachusetts uses for drunk driving.
HOW CAN THEY PROVE OUI?
In order to be guilty of O.U.I. the prosecutor must prove three things, 1) you drove a car 2) you drove that car on a public way 3) while under the influence of alcohol. The first two elements are usually the easiest to prove unless you were sleeping in a car while the third element is the most difficult. There are two ways to prove whether someone is intoxicated.
The first is whether the person took a breath test. The legal limit in Massachusetts is .08 on the breath test. If a person scores a .08 or higher the person is per se guilty. That means they are considered guilty. Any driver has the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test and the refusal cannot be mentioned in court.
The other way to prove intoxication is to show that the driver’s ability to drive was impaired. Impaired operation is where there is no breath test that can be proven by the police officers’ observations and any field sobriety test results.
What are Field Sobriety Tests?
Police officers are trained in DWI Detection and standardized field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are normally given at the side of the road and Field sobriety tests are federally standardized roadside examinations as developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The three primary tests include the “Nine-Step Walk and Turn,” the “One Leg Stand,” and the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus,” all of which must comply with the standards set forth by the NHSTA in order to be considered reliable. Other Field Sobriety Tests include walking in a straight line, touching a finger to your nose, and reciting the alphabet. Massachusetts requires that the police officer that conducted the HGN or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test be qualified as an expert in order to offer the test and rarely does that happen. If the police officer is not qualified as an expert there can be no mention of the HGN test in Massachusetts.
The “Nine-Step Walk and Turn Test” requires you to take nine steps in a straight line, touching heel-to-toe on each step, and then turn around and take another nine heel-to-toe steps back, all while counting the steps out loud. The officer is trained to look for certain cues scoring on the test is negative, meaning that the officer is counting how many things you did incorrectly or to which instructions you failed to adhere, but that you do not accrue points for the number of this you did correctly. Common mistakes include starting the test before you are told to do so, failing to touch heel to toe on each step or stepping off the straight line, and losing balance. Making any two mistakes at any point of this test constitutes a failure.
Police officers in Massachusetts also use the “One Leg Stand” test. It involves verbal instructions and a physical demonstration of the test, followed by performance by standing with one foot of your choice off the ground and counting to 30, without using your arms for balance. Common mistakes include using your arms to balance yourself or putting your foot down before you reach number 30 in your count. Police are trained to look for four cues and consider two or more cues a failure.
Even when field sobriety tests are administered correctly under perfect conditions, they are still not considered by the NHSTA to be 100% reliable. Many outside factors may diminish the reliability of the tests even further, including the weather and road conditions, lighting, and your health and physical abilities. Drivers can refuse to take field sobriety tests and there can be no mention of a field sobriety test refusal in court.
What are my options after I have been arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts?
Most District Attorney’s Offices in Massachusetts will not dismiss an OUI charge. OUI charges are treated very seriously and when someone has been charged with an OUI in Massachusetts they have the choice to enter a plea or take the case to trial. A plea may be entered at any time and it may differ from the prosecutor’s recommendation. The final decision on a plea is made by the judge on all pleas.
A trial in Massachusetts can be before a judge or a jury. A trial before a judge is called a bench trial. At a bench trial, the person waives their right to a jury and the judge takes the place of a jury. The decision to have a bench trial is made by the defendant and the prosecutor cannot object. The role of a judge in a bench trial is to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty. If the judge finds the person guilty the judge then imposes the sentence.
A jury in district court in Massachusetts is made up of six people. The people are randomly selected from the county where the court is located. The role of the jury is to decide whether the person is guilty or not guilty of the charge. If the jury finds the person guilty the judge imposes the sentence.
Experienced Massachusetts OUI DWI DUI Defense Lawyer
Attorney Patrick Donovan served as an Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts. As a prosecutor, he handled thousands of OUI prosecutions. Attorney Donovan handled OUI arraignments, motions, pre-trials, bench and jury trial. Attorney Donovan uses that experience to present the best defense to any Massachusetts OUI charge. Attorney Patrick Donovan has successfully tried many cases both to judges and juries.
Patrick Donovan, an experienced Massachusetts DUI defense attorney can help in all OUI cases. Even if this is someone’s first offense the criminal and financial penalties can be huge. Attorney Donovan can fight for you every step of the way.
Massachusetts DUI Attorney
Patrick T. Donovan is committed to providing the best DUI defense to people who have been accused of and charged with DUI in Boston, Quincy and throughout the state of Massachusetts. Patrick T. Donovan is committed to aggressively pursuing the best possible outcome for each and every one of our clients.
Free OUI Consultations
Boston DWI Attorney offers free consultations. His office is conveniently located in Quincy close to route 93. Attorney Donovan also offers shuttle service to and from home. Attorney Donovan offers both evening and weekend consultations and will meet at places convenient to the client. Please call attorney Patrick Donovan at (617) 479-1800 for your free consultations. Contact Attorney Donovan before you decide to take a lifelong plea on an O.U.I. in Massachusetts.
OUI Penalties In Massachusetts
If you are charged with an OUI, the penalty depends on the number of prior OUIs you have. It is important to know that the lookback period in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is your lifetime, meaning that an OUI offense will remain on your record for the span of your entire life, and prior OUI convictions.
Penalties for a First Offense OUI in Massachusetts
A First Offense OUI charge carries with it a penalty of up to two and a half years in a house of correction, or a fine of $500-$5,000, or both, along with a license suspension of up to one year and license reinstatement fees. Massachusetts has an alternative disposition on a first offense OUI. An alternative disposition in a first offense is a continuation without a finding for a one year, a 45-90 day license loss, fines, fees, and a requirement to complete an alcohol class. A work or education hardship is available from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for all alternative dispositions. Drivers under the age of 21 will have to complete a youth alcohol education program and additional suspension time.
Penalty for Second Offense OUI in Massachusetts
The penalty for a second offense of OUI is jail for up to two and a half years with a minimum of 60 days jail time, unless the judge suspends the sentence to a minimum of 30 days, or a fine of $600-$10,000, or both. The license suspension is 2 years, license reinstatement fees, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). A work or education hardship is available after one year. There is an alternative disposition for a second offense OUI in Massachusetts. The alternative disposition is a guilty, ninety days in jail suspended for 2 years, (meaning if there is a probation violation then you are sentenced to 90 days) probation, fines, fees, and two weeks inpatient alcohol treatment. All people convicted of a second offense are required to install an alcohol ignition interlock device.
Any third offense or more in Massachusetts carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence and long license loss.
Call the Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan today for your free initial consultation at (617) 479-1800.
Patrick T. Donovan represents clients in: Boston, Brighton, Chelsea, Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, East Boston, South Boston, Alston, Woburn, Waltham, Framingham, Natick, Malden, Quincy, Milton, Revere, Everett, Weymouth, Marshfield, Randolph, Braintree, Pembroke, Cohasset, Hingham, Orleans, Hull, Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Rockland, All College Students, Dedham, Norwood, Cambridge, Wrentham, Somerville, Walpole, Westwood, Attleboro, North Attleboro, Needham, Brockton, Wellesley, Stoughton, Wareham, Plainville, Arlington, Concord, Canton, Sharon, Avon, Taunton, Revere, Falmouth, Barnstable, Plymouth, Duxbury, Hanover and throughout Massachusetts