What is Important to Keep in Mind When Drinking Alcohol and Driving a
Car Over the Holiday Season
As Thanksgiving is approaching, it is the time of year for homecoming parties and renewing old friendships. For many this will include consuming alcohol at the local bar scene with those you haven’t seen in a while. If you are consuming alcohol and subsequently get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, it is important to remember that there are going to be more police officers on the road during this time of year.
According to criminal lawyer Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA, these additional officers will be looking for drivers that they suspect are under the influence of alcohol. Being under the influence under Massachusetts law doesn’t mean you have to be drunk or unconscious. The standard is if the alcohol you consume reduces your mental-clarity, self-control, and reflexes, thereby reducing your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Read literally, any impairment at all will suffice under Massachusetts law.
With this in mind, you don’t have to be swerving all over the road to be stopped by police and suspected of operating under the influence. For instance, the police may stop a motor vehicle for committing any motor vehicle infraction, such as speeding. As soon as the officer then smells the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the interior of the vehicle, the scenario is going to turn into a suspicion for operating under the influence.
What is important to remember at this time is to remain calm and polite to the officer as he/she is watching your every move. Also, as the police will inevitably ask you to perform field sobriety tests, it is crucial to note that you are not obligated to perform such tests, and under Massachusetts law, any refusal to perform these tests can’t be used against you at trial.
It must be stated, however, that without such tests, the officer is going to have to make a decision on whether he/she believes you are impaired based on all other observations. In this scenario, the police will generally err on the side of caution and arrest, as the standard to arrest is much less than that needed for a conviction at trial.
The up side, however, is that being arrested for operating under the influence doesn’t guarantee a conviction. Your most important decision at this time is to hire an experienced Worcester OUI Attorney to expose the government’s case and fight for you at trial.
For more information, contact criminal lawyer Surrette at the link below: