You may wonder what the difference is between an OUI (Operating Under the Influence), a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) when comparing the different laws that each state has surrounding operating or driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. These terms come down to some technical differences, and although the charges are essentially treated the same in each state, some definitions allow for slightly more flexibility when an arresting officer or the court is determining whether or not a law was broken.
Read more below about the charges of OUI in Massachusetts, and how they differ from the charges of DUI or DWI in other states. It is important to understand the technical differences between each of these laws in order to ensure that you are aware of the different ways that you could find yourself in violation. While the charges are generally interchangeable and synonymous in casual conversation, you will find the specifics to be more nuanced than you may initially expect.
Contact us as soon as possible if you have been charged with OUI in Massachusetts, so that we can begin to identify all of the different factors that led to your arrest, and how we can build a strong defense to work towards the best possible outcome given your situation. Our experience with the Massachusetts court system will be a great asset for you, and you can move forward with the confidence that you have made a good choice in OUI attorneys to maximize your chances of a good outcome.
What Is an OUI?
Under G.L. c. 90, § 24, a person is breaking the law if their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol. This means that they have exceeded the legal limit of 0.08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) as an adult operating a passenger vehicle, 0.04% as a CDL driver operating a commercial vehicle, or 0.02% as a minor.
The term “operation” casts a slightly wider net than the term “driving,” because it refers to many different types of operation that may not necessarily require that the vehicle is engaged and moving down a public road under the control of the intoxicated driver. Operating may simply mean that the driver had the keys in the ignition.
However, while in a DUI state the person may not be arrested if they are on the side of a road, sleeping, with the keys in the ignition and a person in the same situation may be arrested in Massachusetts, it is not always as simple as removing the keys from the ignition. Circumstantial evidence that indicates the person was previously operating the motor vehicle, either by eyewitness accounts, personal admission, or being found in the driver’s seat of a car after an accident even if the key is out of the ignition and the vehicle is not running.
Defending Against OUI in Massachusetts
As you can see by the few nuances mentioned above that distinguish between an OUI and a DUI, you can imagine that there are many different ways that your arrest and case must be examined in order to determine that your rights were upheld and that the proper procedure was taken through the entire process.
This means that you were pulled over for an appropriate reason, that the field sobriety tests you submitted to were legitimate and the officer’s findings were appropriate, and more. In some cases, we may find that the proper procedure was disregarded in one or multiple steps of the arrest, meaning that you were arrested on faulty grounds, to begin with. In other cases, it may be without question that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and that you were stopped for a legitimate reason, but that somewhere else in the process the officer on the scene violated the proper procedure and your rights were not upheld.
No matter what the overall process of your traffic stop, field sobriety test, breath test, and ultimate arrest was, we will work through every step to find weak spots in the case and use them to our advantage. It is our goal to manage the best possible outcome for your case while ensuring that the state adheres to the Constitution and respects your rights as a private citizen.
Contact Us Today
In order to begin building your defense after being arrested for OUI, contact us immediately to schedule an initial consultation and to have your case evaluated by an experienced legal professional. The sooner we begin working with you, the sooner we will be able to start working towards a positive outcome for your case.