If you have been arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, the most important thing that you need to do is hire an experienced, aggressive attorney to represent you through your case. Whether it is your first OUI or your fifth OUI, and regardless of whether or not there are any additional charges or enhancements in your case, these charges are extremely serious and can have a significant impact on your life.
When you are working with the team at OUI Attorneys, you can be confident that we will be exploring every possible option to ensure that the outcome of your case is as favorable as possible. Massachusetts is very strict with OUI laws, and has severe punishments associated with these charges, so it is important that you hire the services of a lawyer who understands this complex process, the loopholes in the laws, and the various ways that we will be able to effectively navigate your criminal case in the Massachusetts court system.
Read more about our team and services, and contact us as soon as possible for an initial case evaluation. During your evaluation, you will be able to learn more about our process, discuss the specifics of your arrest and charges, and discuss what your experience will look like when you decide to hire us to defend your case.
What is An OUI?
Charges of OUI stand for Operating Under the Influence, which is synonymous with the wider-used DUI charges, or Driving Under the Influence. However, the difference between Massachusetts decision to use the term “operating” in place of “driving” leads to some subtle differences in the ways that the law is applied, and the different actions that you may take that can put you at risk of an arrest.
In Massachusetts, the decision to use the word “operating” is a conscious decision that expands the scope of the violation. For example, you may be arrested for an OUI if you are found by an officer in your vehicle, which is turned off, as long as the keys are in the ignition. This is not considered a violation in states that use a DUI, because you are not DRIVING the vehicle. Simply put, “operating” covers a wider range of activities or situations, meaning that the state has more opportunities to charge you with the violation.
Stopped Under Suspicion of OUI
In order to be found in violation of Massachusetts’ OUI laws you must be found to have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of more than 0.08% as an adult driver (over the age of 21) of a passenger vehicle, 0.04% as a CDL driver, and 0.02% as an operator under the age of 21. Your BAC is checked by a breathalyzer test and/or a blood test. Refusing a chemical test will result in an automatic license suspension, and while it may reduce your possible penalties through the Massachusetts criminal system, it will certainly have adverse impacts on your status with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the penalties that they will independently issue. You have the right to refuse this test, but you must be aware that there are penalties that come with this decision.
Before the officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test, it is likely that they will ask you to submit to a battery of field tests that act as a way for the office to gauge the driver’s control over their mental and physical faculties. However, these tests are highly subjective, and there is no set of criteria that firmly determine a “pass/fail.” Instead, it is up to the officer to determine and does not take many different factors into account, such as any possible physical disabilities, the impact of stress, fear, and adrenaline on performance, the surrounding conditions such as rain, snow, and oncoming traffic, and more.
Since these tests are so subjective, they will not be used against you in court. Even though the field sobriety tests are not used as evidence in your case, they do provide the officer with ample reasons to place you under arrest, as well as a probable cause to request that you submit to a breath or blood alcohol test to determine your level of intoxication.
Intoxication With Drugs Other than Alcohol
If you are under the influence of other drugs, then a blood alcohol test will not indicate that you are intoxicated. This means that there are more complications present in order for the officer to determine and charge you with OUI, especially if they are unable to locate any of the drugs on your person or in your possession. In some cases, police forces may have a Drug Recognition Examiner on staff who will attempt to determine whether or not you are drugged, but like field sobriety tests this process is extremely subjective if you do not provide an admission. Arrests under the suspicion of intoxication of drugs other than alcohol can, therefore, create a more complicated, subjective court case and will give us another factor that we will work into your defense.
OUI Arrests With Enhanced Charges
There are many different situations where an OUI arrest may lead to additional or enhanced charges, which will ultimately lead to harsher penalties for a conviction. Some different circumstances that can add to your penalties and create a more complex situation for you can include things like multiple OUIs on your criminal record, having a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, operating without a license or with a suspended license, and more. Additionally, if you are currently on probation then you will have to face the penalties that you have agreed upon at the time of your previous conviction.
Contact Us Today
Regardless of the complexity of the OUI charges that you are facing in Massachusetts, contact us as soon as possible to discuss the attorney services that we offer and how we can help you through this difficult and complicated process. Our experience with OUI charges in Massachusetts will be an enormous asset to you, and we will be able to help you work towards the most favorable charges possible.