What Police Look for When Stopping for OUI, by Worcester DUI Attorney

What the Police are Looking for When You are Stopped for OUI

When you are stopped after consuming any amount of alcohol, you are undoubtedly going to be nervous. You will begin to wonder what the police officer is looking for in making a decision to arrest for OUI. What you may not consider is that the officer has already made crucial observations about your operation of the motor vehicle, according to Worcester dui attorney Shane W. Surrette.

For example, if it is reported that you were speeding, and that was the only basis of the stop, such a simple reason to stop the vehicle provides a significant amount of Operating Under the Influence information. Consider, for instance, the situation where the officer has been following a motor vehicle for one-half mile, and he stops the vehicle for excessive speed only.

We now can infer, and the officer will have to agree that the motor vehicle stayed within its lane of travel, the vehicle never swerved, it didn’t enter the breakdown lane, and it didn’t come close to hitting anything. Similarly, the vehicle clearly stopped at an appropriate time, otherwise there would likely be a charge for failure to stop for police.

Furthermore, the officer will be looking for how you turn to the side of the road in making a decision to arrest for OUI. For example, did the vehicle abruptly stop with the operator slamming on the brakes, and did the vehicle stop at an angle or straight off the side of the road. The main question at this stage of the vehicle stop is, “whether there was anything unusual about the way the vehicle stopped on the side of the road.

As a result, before the officer ever has a conversation with a motor vehicle operator who is driving after consuming any amount of alcohol, he/she has already made numerous observations which will impact an OUI decision.

Meaning of “Under the Influence” by Worcester Defense Attorney

What Does It Means to Be Under the Influence of Alcohol

Under Massachusetts law there are two ways for the government to prove that someone committed the offense of operating under the influence of alcohol, according to defense attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA. The Commonwealth may allege that at the time of operation, the person’s blood alcohol content, as measured by a breathalyzer test, was .08 or above. The Commonwealth may also allege operation on a public way at a time the person’s alertness, judgment, and ability to respond promptly were reduced by the consumption of alcohol.

When there is a breathalyzer test taken that is .08 or above, the Commonwealth will normally proceed under both theories of OUI. When there is a breathalyzer refusal or failure of the machine to record a number, the Commonwealth will only be able to proceed on the under the influence or reduced alertness branch of the statute.

In cases proceeded on under both theories, the Commonwealth has more to throw at the proverbial wall in hope that something sticks. For example, if the breath test result is high, but the person shows no signs of impairment, the breath test will be highlighted at trial beyond the under the influence theory, and vice versa.

What is essential in any OUI case whether one is charged under one or both prongs of the statute, is to choose a criminal defense attorney with experience trying cases with and without a breathalyzer test. When the government throws it all at the all hoping that something sticks, go with an experienced OUI attorney who can even out the odds.

For a free consultation with Attorney Shane W. Surrette, click the button below:

DUI Attorney Advice on Drunk Driving Arrest

We have reached the end of the summer and as the warm weather fades, there will be a lot of cookouts and Labor Day celebrations. As with any celebration, alcohol is likely to be served or will simply be made available.

As a result, it is common to have a few drinks with your friends and family as you relax and unwind. What is important to keep in mind is that after each drink you consume, your alertness, judgment, and ability to respond promptly get lessened. This is what the standard is for operating under the influence of alcohol under Massachusetts law, according to Worcester dui attorney Shane W. Surrette.

You simply don’t have to be drunk, unconscious, or falling over to be arrested and charged with operating under the influence. With a low standard to be charged with operating under the influence, and with common misconceptions about what it actually means to be under the influence, many people will be arrested in the coming weeks after enjoying end of summer celebrations.

With this in mind, just because you are arrested for operating under the influence doesn’t mean that you must run into court and admit to the charge because you believe that the evidence is stacked against you. When you admit to an OUI-first offense, a standard disposition in Worcester County is a continuance without a finding. This means that you admit to sufficient facts to support a guilty finding, but a guilty finding will never enter if you complete certain conditions.

The conditions will include an alcohol education awareness program plus its program fee, as well as fees and fines in the realm of $600, with a further $65 per month supervised probation fee. You will also lose your license for 45-90 days, which is in addition to the suspension pursuant to the breathalyzer test.

The fees, fines, license loss, and conditions will only get more severe based on the number of prior admissions/convictions on your record. As a result, it is important in most situations to suit up and proceed to jury trial.

If you have any questions, please contact dui attorney Shane W. Surrette at the link below:

Pulled Over After Drinking Alcohol: A DUI Attorney Recommendation

Being stopped by a police officer after having consumed alcohol is one of the most unnerving experiences anyone can ever face. The first reaction is such an instance is to panic and over-react as the heart starts pounding.
The key in such situation, however, is to remain calm and polite as the officer surveys you and the scene, according to DUI Attorney Shane W. Surrette. The officer will initially ask you for your license and vehicle registration and he is going to watch how you are able to produce these documents. You will then be asked where you are coming from and how much you had to drink. Again observations will be made of how you answer and react to these questions, as well as your manner of speech.
Similarly, you will be asked to exit the vehicle and you will be judged on how you are able to exit the vehicle and how your balance is upon exiting the vehicle. You will then be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, where the officer is looking for certain clues as you perform these tests.
For example, in the nine step walk and turn test, they will look for whether you are able to balance during instructions; start when instructed; maintain heel to toe as you walk; step off-line; raise your arms for balance; stop; turn correctly; and whether you take the correct number of steps. As some people have better balance generally speaking than others, there can be numerous reasons why you might be unsuccessful on a test such as this without being under the influence of alcohol.
Keep in mind that the police are generally going to ask you to do these tests because they at least have suspicion that you are impaired by alcohol. You have in Massachusetts, however, an absolute right to refuse to perform these tests, and such refusal can’t be admitted against you in the Commonwealth’s case in chief.
As a result, unless you know that you have extraordinary balance and you will be unaffected by the flashing lights of the police cruiser coupled with the road conditions and the passing motorists, most of the time it is advisable to refuse field sobriety tests.
Without any observations of your performance on the field sobriety tests, the police will  be forced to decide if you are  under the influence of alcohol based upon their observations of your driving and their interaction with you in what is commonly a very short period of time.
This decision to arrest need only be based on probable cause to believe that you have driven while under the influence of alcohol. If it can go either way, the police will almost always arrest.
So if you are going to be arrested anyway, don’t enhance the government’s case. Remember to remain calm, polite, and unless you know you have great balance and coordination, it is ok to say no I’m not doing the field sobriety tests, according to DUI Attorney Surrette.
Please check back for future blog posts detailing what to do when arrested and booked for operating under the influence of alcohol, and whether it is advisable to take a breathalyzer test.

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