Operating under the influence is an equal opportunity crime. It has severe consequences that do not differentiate between old and young, rich and poor, or those with other criminal records and those with no records.
Regardless of who you are, Massachusetts has some of the toughest driving under the influence laws in the country. Because of that, many people who have never had a criminal record are now facing charges.Breathalyzer Refusal and OUI Consequences
Most people will face the choice of whether to take a breathalyzer test without any access to an attorney. Even so, taking the test will have serious ramifications for your defense in court.
Depending on the results, the court will make a presumption about whether you were operating under the influence. These inferences can be very difficult to overcome.
- A result over 0.08 causes an “inference” of guilt.
- A result below 0.05 causes an “inference” of innocence, and
- A result between 0.05 and 0.08 gives no inference one way or the other.
- For drivers under 21, guilt starts at 0.02.
Just for rough measuring, a man weighing 160 pounds will test at approximately 0.08 after three drinks consumed in an hour. But always be careful, because “drinks” are measured by the average amount of alcohol served by a responsible bartender. A 12 ounce light beer will have much less alcohol than a 16 ounce IPA. The same goes with every type of alcohol.
Refusing to take the Breathalyzer test can result in a severe penalty. These penalties get worse if you’ve already refused a breathalyzer or if you already had a drunk driving offense. For example, refusal to take a breathalyzer after ONE earlier conviction or first offense plea revokes your license for THREE years and no hardship license is allowed. It’s for this reason that you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
If you have questions regarding refusing a breath test or the procedures used by the police in your OUI arrest, do not hesitate to consult with a skilled and proven drunk driving defense attorney at our well-respected law office.Repeat Offenders
In Massachusetts, operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, (or OUI, or in other jurisdictions DWI, driving while intoxicated), the penalties build on each other with subsequent offenses. A first offense will likely result in a temporary loss of license and no jail time. Each additional offense makes it more likely that you will lose your license longer, if not permanently, and it increases the chances of you serving jail time. This is why you need to consult a lawyer, even if it’s your first offense.
Massachusetts has an unlimited “look back’ period. If you are convicted of or admit to a first offense today, live a perfectly clean life for 25 or more years, then get rear ended after a Christmas party, when the investigating officer smells liquor on your breath you are facing a second offense. A second offense can lead to:
- License loss for two years.
- Mandatory jail time is 60 days, with potential reduction for a “second offenders” program.
- The mandatory interlock system is triggered once you can drive again.
A third offense carries mandatory imprisonment of 150 days, and license loss is eight years. It gets far worse with each successive offense.Do I Need a Lawyer for a First Offense?
Yes! While first offenders will frequently enter a plea in order to be assigned to a first offenders program and limit license suspension, you always should consult with a lawyer. Why? An attorney will examine questions like
- Did the officer have a reason to pull you over in the first place?
- Did the officer follow all the necessary procedures?
- How much did you drink and does the breath test result correlate, or can it be attacked?
- Do you have a medical condition that may have affected the blood alcohol reading or your performance on field sobriety test?
- Were you in a collision which may have altered your behavior or agility on ensuing tests?
Even if the Commonwealth has a strong case, an attorney may be able to soften certain consequences of a plea.Experienced OUI Attorneys
If you have an arrest for operating under the influence (OUI) or driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to consult with a drunk driving attorney that has the experience necessary to handle your case. You have other options than pleading guilty immediately. Our Massachusetts attorneys will fight to ensure that your charges are minimized or even dismissed. We find out what happened and make sure that there are no mistakes in the police report. We will use all the resources available to us to build the best possible case for your driving under the influence defense.
We work closely with our clients to ensure that they understand every step of their OUI/DUI defense. Many of our clients are worried about the following possible outcomes:
- Suspended license
- Revoked license
- Jail time
Marcotte Law Firm has attorneys who have experience with OUIs in MA and NH. They know what to question, what to attack, where to apply pressure, and how to get an acquittal or minimization of your penalties.
At Marcotte Law Firm in Lowell, Massachusetts, we work with clients to help them maintain dignity and achieve the best possible results in their DUI/OUI cases. Contact our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation at our Lowell, Woburn, or Andover office locations.