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.
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