Holiday Drinking & Driving, by OUI Lawyer Surrette

If you are stopped by police after consuming alcohol during this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind.  First of all, when the police are investigating a suspected drunk driver, the officer is going to make initial observations of the manner of the vehicle operation.  For instance, the police are looking to see if the vehicle crosses the marked lanes, whether it goes into the breakdown lane, or whether or not it stops appropriately.

Additionally, as the officer approaches the vehicle, he is looking to see if the operator is able to produce his/her license and registration without difficulty.  The police are also looking to see if the driver has difficulty shutting the vehicle off and exiting.

Once outside the vehicle, the police will often ask if the driver wishes to perform field sobriety tests.  These are tests designed to check for balance and ability to follow instructions.  If you should agree to take these tests, the performance thereof is admissible in the Commonwealth’s case in chief.  Any refusal, however, is inadmissible in the Commonwealth’s case in chief.

Similarly, if you are arrested for OUI, you will be afforded the opportunity to take an infrared breathalyzer test at the police station.  As with field sobriety tests, a refusal to take an infrared breathalyzer test is inadmissible in the governments’ case in chief.  Such a refusal, however, carries with it significant license consequences.

As a result, if you or someone you know is arrested for OUI during this or any other season, contact an OUI Lawyer who will fight for you and your rights.  Don’t delay, make the call today.

OUI LAWYER

            If you are stopped for suspicion of OUI over the summer holiday season, the police will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests.  There are three standard tests that the police center on in Massachusetts.  The standard exercises include the nine-step walk and turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

The nine-step walk and turn and the one-leg stand exercise are walking and standing tests, respectively, that are designed to measure an individual’s ability to balance and process information.  The problem with these tests for the government is that there are many reasons and factors influencing why an individual may not be able to balance and following instructions, apart from alcohol impairment.

For instance, someone may have medical problems or may just have poor balance, which may prevent him or her from adequately performing these tests.  Similarly, if you are a nervous person, you may be focused on what is transpiring before you, opposed to following instructions.

The final standard field sobriety exercise is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.  This is a test of the eye, and it is based on the scientific theory that there is a correlation between the consumption of alcohol and the involuntary movement of the human eyeball.  The difficulty for the Commonwealth with this test is that they need someone who has the experience to testify that they are trained in giving this test and that the underlying science is reliable.

It is likely that in order to be admitted in the Commonwealth, the government will have to proceed with an ophthalmologist for the HGN’s introduction.

Therefore, if you are stopped in the Commonwealth after consuming alcohol, and you find yourself attempting these tests, don’t panic if you are arrested shortly thereafter.  Be polite and immediately contact an OUI Lawyer who knows how to adequately defend an OUI charge.

DUI Attorney

DUI Attorney

            If you are arrested for DUI in Massachusetts, you will be offered a breathalyzer test when you get back to the police station. The decision of whether to take a breathalyzer test should not be taken lightly.  For instance, you should consider how much you had to drink and when in making your decision. Also, the test results will be impacted by what you had to eat and when, as well as a multitude of other factors.

Of further consideration is the license impact of taking versus not taking the breath test.  For example, on a DUI first offense in Massachusetts, if you refuse the breathalyzer test and you are 21 or older, you will lose your license for 6 months from the time of refusal.  If you take the test and fail on a first offense, you will lose your license for 30 days from the time of the test.

If you refuse the breathalyzer test on a DUI second offense, you will lose your license for 3 years from the time of refusal.  If you take the test and fail the suspension period remains 30 days.  These suspensions obviously increase as the offense numbers increase, and they are in addition to any suspensions that occur as a result of a conviction on the underlying offense.

As a result, the decision of whether to take the breathalyzer test may depend on how well you can get around without a license for the immediate future.  If you are facing a DUI charge today, contact a DUI attorney who will fight for you and your license.

DUI Attorney

If you drive a motor vehicle on a public way after consuming any amount of alcohol, and you are stopped by the police, you face the potential for a DUI charge.  For instance, even though DUI is commonly thought of as drunk driving, the jury instructions indicate that if the operator has a reduced alertness, judgment, and ability to respond promptly, then the jury is warranted in finding the under the influence element of the charge.

Obviously, alcohol affects people differently, and a certain amount that may reduce one person’s alertness, and judgment, may not have the same impact on another person.  With this in mind, during a DUI stop, the police will look for certain clues to see if they can ascertain whether the driver’s self-control and reflexes have been reduced.

The police will look to see if the vehicle was swerving, whether or not the driver can produce the license and registration without difficulty, as well as how the person was able to exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests.  These will all be factors in the officer’s decision to arrest for DUI, and are just a few of the considerations applicable in a DUI case.

As a result, if you or someone you know is facing such a charge, search for those DUI Attorneys who will fight for you and your rights.  Don’t hesitate, call today.

Drunk Driving Attorney

 If you or someone you know is arrested for drunk driving, the consequences are severe.  First of all, if you agree to take the breathalyzer test on a first offense, you will lose your license for 30 days.  If you decline the breathalyzer test on a first offense, you will lose your license for 180 days.

Similarly, the penalties associated with a conviction can be staggering.  For instance, a first offender disposition will often call for probation for a year with costs reaching the thousands, and with an additional 45-90 day license loss.

A second offender disposition will often call for probation for 2 years, with the requirement of a 14 day in-patient program costing over $1,000.  A second offender disposition will also call for a 2 year license loss, as well as the imposition of an ignition interlock device when you try to get your license back.

If you are convicted of a third offense for drunk driving, there is a 150 minimum mandatory jail sentence with the potential for indictment.  The license loss for a third offense conviction runs for 8 years, which is in addition to any time lost for a breathalyzer test refusal, or failure.

The above referenced consequences are just a few facing those charged with drunk driving offenses. They also represent standard dispositions, since the court can impose sentences even stricter than those referenced above.  Furthermore, the penalties will get even more severe if you reach a fourth, fifth, or subsequent DUI.

With this in mind, if you find yourself charged with drunk driving as either a first or subsequent offender, do the right thing and contact a drunk driving attorney who will fight to the end for you.  The consequences are just too severe to take the charges lightly.

DUI Attorney

Many of you have commented on the high number of DUI arrests in Fitchburg over the weekend.  With the amount of DUI arrests increasing, here are a few things to keep in mind from a DUI Attorney.

First of all, you should know that you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, and any such refusal can’t be used by the Commonwealth at trial in its case in chief against you. This is important because there are a number of reasons why a person can’t perform well on field sobriety tests, without being under the influence.

In a similar vein, you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, and any refusal can’t be used against you by the Commonwealth in its case in chief.  Whether or not to take the breathalyzer test should be carefully analyzed, because once you agree to the test and produce a result of .08 or above, you are stuck with that result.

Finally, the decision of whether or not to take the breathalyzer test also carries with it license consequences.  For instance, refusing to take the breathalyzer test on a DUI first offense carries with it a six month license suspension.  Taking the test and failing on a first offense results in a thirty day license suspension.  This is often how the police are able to encourage those arrested to take the breathalyzer.

With these point in mind, if you or someone you know is arrested for DUI, contact an attorney with experience trying DUI cases. With your livelihood and your license on the line, don’t hesitate, make the call today.

DUI Attorney

Many of you have commented on the story of the Fitchburg DUI suspect who is alleged to have repeatedly state to the police officer that “he was drunk”, and that both “knew that the suspect was drunk.”  Under Massachusetts law, statements that are volunteered by those suspected of criminal activity, without any interrogation by the police are admissible, if they are voluntarily made.

This begs the question of what does it mean to be voluntary?  A statement is voluntary if it is the product of a rational intellect, and it is not made because of coercion or impairment due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

The problem with arguing that a statement is involuntary due to alcohol or drugs in a DUI case is the fact that the motion affidavit will have to acknowledge that the person charged was under the influence of either substance.  Unless the defense is involuntary consumption of either alcohol or drugs, this may help in the battle against the statements, but will likely prove detrimental to the overall case.

With this in mind, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI Attorney who will fight for you and who will argue to keep statements out.  Don’t wait until it’s too late, there is no time like the present.

DUI Attorney

Now that the largest winter storm in decades is being us, many of you will be venturing out to restaurants and bars over the upcoming week to get out of the house.  If you find yourself driving a car after consuming alcohol, remember that the police are out looking for impaired operators.  As a result, here are a few things to keep in mind from a DUI Attorney.

First of all, the police may stop a motor vehicle for any civil motor vehicle infraction.  Civil motor vehicle infractions include speeding and going over the marked lines, just to name two.  What is important to note in any such stop is that the police are looking for a number of things in addition to what is listed on the citation.

For instance, the police will look to see if the driver pulls over right away when the cruiser lights go on, as well as, if the vehicle parks on the side of the road, without any portions of the vehicle sticking out in the road.

Additionally, the police will look for the operator’s ability to find and produce his/her license and registration without dropping or having difficulty handling the items.  The police will also look to see if the driver has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of alcoholic beverages on the breath.

Similarly, if the police believe based on these observations that the driver has a reduced alertness and judgment based on the consumption of alcohol, the police will typically ask the driver to exit and perform field sobriety tests.  Upon exiting, the police are looking to see if the operator has any difficulty opening the door, exiting, and walking on the side of the road.

As a result, without even considering field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test, the police are looking at a myriad of factors to determine whether they believe someone is impaired. Consequently, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI Attorney who will challenge the Commonwealth.

DUI Attorney

With the Super Bowl here, many people will be attending parties at bars and at homes throughout the Commonwealth.  It is important to remember that just as many of you will be out celebrating the Super Bowl, the police will be out looking for those suspected of DUI.  As a result, keep in mind a few pieces of information from a DUI Attorney.

First of all, the police may pull you over for any civil motor vehicle infraction.  This includes, speeding, going over the marked lanes, as well as committing a right turn violation, just to name a few.  Similarly, as the officer approaches the vehicle, if he or she smells the odor of an alcoholic beverage within the vehicle, or if the operator has red, glossy eyes or even looks lethargic, the police officer will ask a series of question to elicit if alcohol was being consumed, how much, and when.

At this point, if the officer suspects that the operator has consumed alcohol or may be under the influence of alcohol, the operator will be ordered out of the vehicle and asked to perform field sobriety tests.  Keep in mind that the officer is looking to see if the driver has any difficulty turning the vehicle off, and exiting the vehicle at this point.  It is further worth noting that even though the police may ask an operator to perform field sobriety tests, you are under no obligation to do so, and any refusal is inadmissible at trial against you under Massachusetts law.

Finally, if the police make the decision to arrest, there will be an opportunity to take a breathalyzer test back at the police station.  A refusal on this test is similarly inadmissible at trial in the Commonwealth’s case in chief under Massachusetts law, however, a significant consequence of a breathalyzer test refusal is loss of license.

So if you or someone you know finds yourself charged with DUI, contact a DUI attorney who will fight for you at trial, and who will help you to regain your license as quickly as possible.  Don’t hesitate, call right away.

DUI Attorney

If someone is charged with DUI in Massachusetts after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, is the accident itself evidence of impairment?  Under Massachusetts law, an accident alone is not evidence of DUI.

If a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, many of the symptoms of a head injury are consistent with those for DUI.  For example, if the motor vehicle operator strikes his or head on the dashboard of the vehicle, and that person is observed to be unsteady outside of the vehicle, is the unsteadiness caused by the head strike or DUI impairment?

There is no easy answer to this question, and most police officers will not be able to tell the difference absent blood alcohol testing.  Simply stated, can most people tell the difference between the symptoms of impairment and the symptoms of a head injury?  The answer is obviously no, and if you find yourself in such a situation you should be entitled to the benefit of the reasonable doubt.

As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI attorney who will fight for you and your rights.

Ratings and Reviews

10.0Shane W. Surrette
Shane W. SurretteReviewsout of reviews
National Trial Lawyers Top 100