Being arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI) of alcohol in the U.S. is a serious offense, and particularly serious in the state of Massachusetts. The crime is also known as driving under the influence (DUI), and the laws are so harsh that obtaining a certain number of DUIs will actually result in a permanent suspension of a person’s license. The state also considers all previous OUI charges when deciding punishment, whereas most states only consider the last five to ten years. Knowing the stages that the criminal justice system goes through to prosecute an OUI will prepare a person for what’s ahead, and this knowledge may prove useful during the criminal trial.
Any person over the age of twenty-one who blows a .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) on a breathalyzer will be charged with an OUI. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will immediately suspend a person’s license for one month upon arrest. This only applies to a first time offense. Subsequent offenses will bring a longer suspension.Many people think that they will have a stronger case if they refuse a breathalyzer, but according to our Massachusetts DUI attorney, they would most likely advise against this due to the fact that the RMV will automatically suspend a person’s license for six months upon refusal. Once again, this suspension increases each time a person refuses the test.
Leading up to Court Dates
Anyone arrested for an OUI should plead not guilty. This will set into motion a series of dates leading up to the trial date. During this time, it is important for a person to have their lawyer submit a request for an appeal to the RMV if they refused a breathalyzer or chemical test. If a lawyer can show that the driver was not arrested, did not refuse the chemical test or if the officer had no reasonable grounds for the OUI arrest, then the six month suspension will be overturned. The driver only has fifteen days for their lawyer to make this request, so it is imperative that they contact an attorney quickly.Court Dates
It is imperative that a person attend all court dates in relation to their charge. If the accused has secured a lawyer then the attorney may be able to attend certain hearings in their client’s stead. OUI defense lawyer Jack Diamond of the Jack Diamond law firm recommends securing a lawyer due to the fact that at least four court appearances will be necessary, some of which require a working knowledge of the law.The first court appearance will be the arraignment. This is where the accused is informed of the charges against them. The next court date is a pretrial conference. This meeting is to ensure a defendant has all relevant information pertaining to a case and the case could possibly even be resolved at this appearance. The third court appearance is set for motion hearings. This is where legal knowledge comes into play. A good lawyer can possibly have certain evidence suppressed, which may end the criminal proceedings immediately. The final court date is the actual trial. This will usually only last one day, and if proceedings have gotten that far, it is important for the accused to have an attorney by their side.
An OUI conviction in the state of Massachusetts can be a serious hassle. Massachusetts will consider all OUI convictions from a person’s lifetime, even those that occurred out of state, when deciding a defendant’s punishment. Due to the stringent rules in the state, it is important for anyone accused of the crime to find competent legal representation. Since a DUI conviction will follow a person in Massachusetts for the rest of their lives, it is best to try to prevent a first conviction from ever happening.