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.
Under Massachusetts law, there is no charge called drunk driving. There is a charge, however, entitled operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor. To prove an OUI charge, the government must show that a person operated his her/her motor vehicle on a public way at a time that person’s alertness, judgment and ability to respond promptly were lessened by alcohol, or with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above.
This stature, read literally, means that any impairment of mental-clarity and reflexes is sufficient for operating under the influence, or a number of .08 or above is sufficient to prove the charge. Obviously, the more evidence the Commonwealth has to show that an individual’s alertness, judgment and balance are compromised increases the odds of a conviction for the government. Similarly, the higher the reading on the breath test, the more difficult it becomes to show that the reading could have been below .08 at the time of operation.
As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with what is commonly referred to as drunk driving, contact a drunk driving lawyer who will fight for you from arraignment through jury trial. Your livelihood and your right to operate are on the line, so don’t make the decision lightly.
Whenever someone is arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts, a central issue is going to be whether or not to take a breathalyzer test back at the police station. If you find yourself faced with such a decision, it is important to keep a few things in mind.
For instance, even though you may not feel you have a reduced alertness or judgment, this doesn’t mean that your blood alcohol level as measured by your breath will be less than a .08. Many factors will affect your blood alcohol level, such as, the last time you ate; how much you ate; how much you had to drink; as well as your size and weight.
Similarly, when you are making the decision whether or not to take the breathalyzer test, you will likely not know if your alcohol level is rising in your blood, or whether your level is on the decline. This could skew the result of the test because your blood alcohol level could be higher or lower than it was upon operation of the motor vehicle, which is the defining moment under Massachusetts law.
Finally, the decision you make on whether or not to take the breathalyzer test will also impact your license. A first offense breath test refusal results in a 6 month license suspension, whereas, if you take the breath test on a first offense you will lose your license for 30 days. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving, contact an experienced and dedicated drunk driving lawyer today.
Field sobriety tests are often referred to as divided attention tests. They are designed to measure an individual’s ability to listen and process information as well as his or her coordination. The three standard field sobriety tests in Massachusetts are the nine step walk and turn test, the one leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
The nine step walk and turn test is a balancing test where the subject is asked to walk nine steps in a straight line, touching heel to toe, with arms by his/her sides. The person is then asked to turn, using several small pivoted steps, followed by a return nine steps in the same fashion to the starting position.
The one leg stand test is another standardized test where the subject is asked to raise the leg of his choice six inches off the ground, with toes pointed forward, keeping the arms by the sides. The person performing the test will normally be asked to keep his foot off the ground for thirty seconds, or until the officer says to stop.
The final standardized field sobriety test in Massachusetts is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. According to the field of forensic ophthalmology, there is a correlation between the consumption of alcohol and nystagmus, which is the involuntary movement of the eye. The theory is that you can detect impairment by checking an individual’s eye to see if there is this involuntary movement.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is inadmissible under Massachusetts law, however, in the absence of expert testimony to qualify the expert, and to explain the correlation between alcohol consumption and nystagmus. As always, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a drunk driving attorney who will fight for you and your rights.
Whenever someone is pulled over and the police officer makes the fateful decision to arrest the person for operating under the influence, the police will offer the opportunity for a breathalyzer test. This will oftentimes seem like the only option, as the form that the police read the breathalyzer rights from states that you could lose your license to operate a motor vehicle from 6 months to life for a refusal.
With this in mind, if the decision is made to take a breathalyzer test, there are certain procedures that the police must follow in administering such a test. For instance, pursuant to Massachusetts regulations, the breath test operator must observe the person consenting to the test for a period of at least 15 minutes immediately prior to the administration of the test. 501 C.M.R. 2.13 (3). Substantial failure to observe for the 15 minute period of time immediately prior to the test can form the basis of a Motion to Exclude the test results.
Similarly, the time that the person is first observed for purposes of the observation period should be entered as the same time on both the test ticket as well as the rights form that the person taking the test signs off on. If these times are not the same, this may call into question when and at what time the person was actually first observed for the 15 minute observation period.
Finally, the breath testing device as well as the person giving the test must be certified. If the device, or the operator are not certified, than the test is invalid. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with operating under the influence, and there is a breathalyzer test result, contact an experienced Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer today to go to bat for you.
For more information, please contact attorney Surrette by clicking on the link below:
If you or someone you know is stopped in a vehicle after consuming alcohol, there is a good chance the police officer will ask you to exit the motor vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. These tests are meant to be divided attention tasks, measuring an individual’s ability to process information, follow instruction, and maintain balance. As with anything in an OUI stop, these tests are subjective, yet there are certain clues that the police will look for when asking someone suspected of operating under the influence to perform these tests.
For example, a standardized test under Massachusetts law is the nine step walk and turn test. This is an exercise where the police officer will ask you to stand with your right foot in front of your left, with your arms by your sides while they demonstrate and explain the test. The police officer then explains that the test consists of walking nine steps in a straight line, with your heels touching your toes, arms by your sides, with a prescribed turn, and nine steps back in the same fashion to the starting position.
The clues that are looked for in this test are whether or not you are able to balance during the instructional part of the test, whether you: step off line, maintain heel to toe, raise your arms, start on time, stop, turn correctly, take the correct number of steps, and maintain balance. Often times an individual may miss heel to toe or may step offline on a couple of steps, yet they take the correct number of steps, keep their arms by their sides, and turn correctly. Does this mean that they satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily performed the tests?
As with anything else, it is generally a question of degree. As a result, it is important to hire a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer who will highlight the strengths of your case and who will aggressively fight for you. For more information, please contact Attorney Surrette at the link below:
According to Shane W. Surrette, one of the most experienced of all Massachusetts DUI Lawyers, being charged with an OUI is one of the most life altering charges that an individual can face. With the potential for jail and probation with significant conditions, the impact can be felt for many years to come. For instance, a conviction or an admission on a first offense for OUI for an adult brings with it the potential for jail time, or in the alternative, probation for up to two years, with the mandatory completion of an alcohol education awareness program.
The probation on a first offense also carries with it a supervision fee of $65 per month, as well as, the cost of the program, and $600 in fees and fines. Beyond probation and its accompanying hardship is license loss.
For example, if convicted of an OUI first offense, an adult will face a 45-90 day license loss. Similarly, if there was a breathalyzer test refusal on a first offense, then under Massachusetts law there is a 180 day license loss. It is worth noting that the 45-90 day license loss runs from and after the expiration of the 180 day period.
Furthermore, if there is a breathalyzer test taken and failed then there is a 30 day license loss for an adult on a first offense, as well as the 45-90 day loss upon conviction or admission. Also, whenever the license suspension period ends on an OUI charge, there is an accompanying reinstatement fee through the registry of motor vehicles. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with OUI, go with one of the most experienced of all Massachusetts DUI Lawyers, Shane W. Surrette.