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Operating Or Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol

When facing an operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) or driving while under the influence (DWI) charge, it can be difficult to understand all of the consequences of the offense because the law is complex and changes frequently. It is critical to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney represent you through the process. Our attorneys in the criminal law practice group have significant experience representing individuals charged with DWI. As former prosecutors with years of defense experience, our attorneys can analyze your case from the prosecutor and defense perspective in order to determine the best course of action for you. Our attorneys will be by your side from the very beginning until the end, ensuring that you are fully aware of your options and rights.

Are teens treated differently than adults under OUI/DWI law?

Yes, underage drinking and driving in Massachusetts is very serious. Massachusetts has a zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving, and they penalize offenders accordingly. In fact, if a minor registers a breath test score of .02 or greater, then the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will take action including suspending the minor’s license. Another significant difference is that minors automatically lose their license for 3 years upon refusal of the breath test, whereas it is 180 days for an adult. Failure of the breath test for a minor may result in a mandatory 2-week inpatient alcohol treatment program upon a guilty finding.

Collateral Consequences of OUI/DWI

If you have been arrested for DWI/OUI, there may be consequences that could affect your employment, driver’s license, child custody matters, and more. Bacon Wilson’s vast array of practice groups can provide additional analysis.

Do I have a right to an attorney when asked to take a field sobriety test?

No, but you do have the right to refuse to perform the tests.

How long will an OUI/DWI conviction stay on my record?

This is permanent and will never be removed from your record. And if you’re ever again arrested, this will be used against you.

How long will my license be suspended for refusing the breath test?

For the first time offender, if you refused the breath you will lose your license for 180 days. If you failed the breath test, you will lose your license for 30 days.

How will an OUI/DWI conviction affect me?

In addition to fees, fines, criminal penalties and loss of your license, this conviction will also appear on any background check run on you, so it could affect job applications. It may also prevent you from entering Canada, as they have strict rules regulating entry. It will also cause permanent loss of your license to carry concealed weapons and loss of your firearms identification card for 5 years.

Should I fight or work out a deal for OUI/DWI?

It depends on the facts of your case and what is in your best interests. For the typical first offender, if you work out a deal, you could regain your license quickly, but you’ll be subject to various probationary terms and conditions and enhanced penalties for future offenses.

Should I take the breath test?

If you take the breath test and fail, then the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license for 30 days if this is your first time and you are over 21 years of age. If it is not your first time, and you have been convicted before or you are under 21, the license suspension grows exponentially if you refuse to take the breath test. If you took the test and failed, evidence of the test and the test score will be admitted at trial against you. If you refuse to take the breath test and you are over 21, and it is your first time, then the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for 180 days. However, evidence of your refusal will be excluded from trial. The decision to take the breath test is made difficult by these consequences. Ideally, someone would take the test, only if they knew they were going to pass it.

What is a hardship license?

A hardship license is a temporary form of a driver’s license with certain restrictions awarded by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in cases involving hardship.

What should I do if asked to perform field sobriety tests?

It is best to tell the officer that your attorney advised you to not perform field sobriety tests. These tests will be used against you at trial, but your refusal to take them is not admissible by the prosecution. So taking field sobriety tests can hurt you, but probably not help you.

What to do if you have been arrested for DWI/OUI

Most people who are arrested for DWI/OUI have never been in trouble before. The whole criminal process can be intimidating and confusing. If you have been arrested for DWI/OUI, then you are facing consequences that can affect your job, driver’s license, and other personal matters. It is important to contact us immediately so that we may begin to analyze your case. If you have already been arraigned, then you would have received a copy of the police report that describes the facts surrounding the charge. You may be worried that you “flunked” the field sobriety test, because you did a couple things wrong. The right lawyer can make much more of the things that you did correctly, and thus, minimize those couple of mistakes. It is crucial to have an experienced attorney review the report to determine your options.

When will I get my full license back after OUI/DWI?

With a first offense suspension of your MA license, you can get your license back after the suspension ends, sometime between 75 and 225 days, depending upon your circumstances. However, there may be other factors that may affect when the Massachusetts Registry may return your license.

Why did the police officer stop me for suspicion of OUI/DWI?

There are several possible reasons that the police officer pulled you over for suspicion of drunk driving:

  • Making wide turns
  • Straddling the center lane or driving too close to it
  • Almost hitting something with your vehicle
  • Weaving, drifting, swerving
  • Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
  • Erratic braking
  • Driving into oncoming traffic
  • Erratic turn signals

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