Several times a year in Massachusetts, the state police will institute what are commonly referred to as drunk driving roadblocks. These roadblocks are generally set up in such a fashion where every motor vehicle entering the roadblock will be stopped, unless traffic backs up to a certain point.
There is an initial officer who will approach the stopped vehicle, and who will greet the operator and look for signs of impairment. If no signs of impairment exist, then the driver will be sent on his or her way. If signs of impairment do exist, the operator will be sent into the pit area for further investigation as to whether or not he is under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
These roadblocks have been upheld by Mass. Appellate Courts as long as the police strictly follow the mandated procedures of the Colonel of the Mass. State Police. Much of the litigation around roadblock OUI arrests centers around whether or not the police specifically adhered to these mandated procedures or whether the officers on scene had discretion in what they were able to do.
With this in mind, if you or someone you know is arrested for OUI after entering such a roadblock, contact an OUI Lawyer with experience defending against these arrests. Make the call right away, don’t wait until it’s too late.
Under Massachusetts law, if you are arrested for drunk driving and you have a child 14 years or younger in the vehicle, there is a separate charge that the police can pursue with enhanced penalties. In these circumstances, the police can bring an allegation of child endangerment while operating under the influence, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24V.
The penalty for a first offense violation of this section is a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 and by imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than 90 days nor more than 2 1/2 years. There is also a license loss of 1 year for a first offense violation of this law. Additionally, the penalty for a violation of the child endangerment statute has to be served on and after the underlying penalty for the drunk driving charge.
As a result, if you are facing a child endangerment while operating under the influence charge, contact a skilled and experienced drunk driving attorney who will fight for you. Don’t hesitate, make a call or send an email today.
If you are charged with drug possession, the penalties can be very severe. For instance, if you are charged with trafficking in cocaine between 18-36 grams, the potential penalty includes a 2 year mandatory minimum state prison sentence with a maximum 15 year prison sentence, and a potential fine ranging from $2,500-$25,000. Similarly, if found guilty of trafficking in cocaine between 36-100 grams, there is a 3.5 year mandatory minimum state prison sentence with a maximum 20 year sentence, and a potential fine from $5,000-$50,000. The penalties continue to increase as the amounts involved increase.
Additionally, in order to prove trafficking in cocaine, the government need only show that the person (1) knowingly or intentionally (2) possessed, actually or constructively, (3) a specified amount(4) of cocaine (5) with the intent to distribute it (or actually distributed it in the specified amount). M.G.L.A. c. 94C, § 32E(a), (b), (c).
As a result, if you find yourself or someone you know facing a trafficking or any drug possessory crime, contact a drug possession attorney who knows how to advocate for you. Time is of the essence.
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.