Many of you are interested in the story of an Auburn man charged with OUI causing serious bodily injury after a crash on interstate 290 over the weekend. Going forward, the question is going to be, what does the government have to show to prove such a charge beyond a reasonable doubt? The answer depends on whether the defendant is charged under the felony or the misdemeanor branch, according to dui attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA. For the felony charge of OUI causing serious bodily injury, the government must prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle on a public way; while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above; and did so in a negligent or reckless manner; and by such operation caused serious bodily injury to someone. In order for the Commonwealth to prove the misdemeanor branch of OUI causing serious bodily injury, it must be shown that the person operated a motor vehicle; on a public way; while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above; and by such operation caused serious bodily injury to someone. The difference between the felony and misdemeanor branch of the statute is that under the felony branch negligent or reckless operation has to be shown, whereas, in the misdemeanor portion, no such showing is required. Furthermore, a bodily injury is serious if it creates a substantial risk of death; it involves total disability; it involves the loss of any bodily function for a substantial period of time; or it involves substantial impairment of any bodily function for a substantial period of time. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact an aggressive DUI attorney to fight for you and your rights. For additional questions, or if you would like a free consultation, please contact DUI attorney Surrette at 505.799.9309.
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.
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:
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:
If convicted of dui Massachusetts, second offenders(anyone with a previous OUI conviction or previous assignment to the 24D program or substantially similar program) face the second offender disposition which includes:
- probation for 2 years for dui Massachusetts;
- 2 year loss of license with a hardship license available after 1 year for employment/education purposes, and 18 month for a general hardship license. (Note: A condition of a hardship license is that the operator have an ignition interlock device on his/her vehicle. The device requires the operator to blow into it prior to and during operation, and prevents the car from operating if the operator has a blood alcohol level of .02 or greater. The interlock device must be imposed for the duration of the hardhip period and an additional two years thereafter.);
- 14 day in-patient residential alcohol program with a fee of approximately $1,050;
- $65 supervised probation fee for dui Massachusetts;
- $250 OUI assessment with a $50 victim of OUI fee, and $50 victim witness fee.
A Mass dui lawyer will help you beat these charges. If convicted of dui Massachusetts and not sentenced to the second offender disposition, the potential penalty includes:
- imprisonment for a mandatory minimum of 30 days and not more than 2.5 years for dui Massachusetts;
- fine of not less than $600 nor more than $10,000; and
- 2 year loss of license with the hardship license available after 1 year and 18 months.
With a second offense breathalyzer failure for dui Massachusetts, the license loss remains 30 days at the outset, unless you are between the ages of 18-20, where the 30 days has an additional 180 day component. If you refuse the breathalyzer test on a second offense, you will lose your license for 3 years, and if you are under 21 you will lose your license for 3 years plus the YAP suspension for dui Massachusetts. An experienced Massachusetts drunk driving attorney will help you beat your charges.
Please note that if you hold a commercial driver’s license and you refuse the breathalyzer test on a second offense, you will lose your commercial license for life. Also, if you are convicted of a second offense dui Massachusetts, you will lose your commercial license for life.
- probation for not more than 2 years for dui Massachusetts;
- assignment to a driver alcohol education awareness program (usually sixteen weeks, one night per week), as a condition of probation;
- $600 in fees and fines payable to the court;
- $65 dollars per month in supervised probation fees;
- 45-90 day license loss; 210 day license loss if driver under 21; and
- ability to obtain a hardship license upon proper showing of need for education or employment purposes (hardship license is effective for 12 hour periods, and is typically available within 3 business days of a disposition with a monetary down-payment of around $400).
If convicted and not sentenced under M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24D, the potential penalty includes:
- up to 2.5 years to the House of Correction and/or not less that $500 nor more than $5,000 in fines for dui Massachusetts; and
- a 1 year loss of license, with a hardship license available after 3 months. (Note: the 3 month period is in addition to any time still remaining on the license revocation due to a breathalyzer test refusal).
Furthermore, if you take the breathalyzer test and fail (meaning anything over a .08) you will lose your license for 30 days at the outset for dui massachusetts. If you refuse the breathalyzer test on a first offense dui Massachusetts, you will lose your license for 6 months at the outset. If you are 18-21 years old and blow .02 or greater, in addition to the 30 day license loss there is an additional 180 day loss. Also, if you are 18-21 and refuse the breathalyzer test, you will lose your license for 3 years plus an additional youth alcohol program suspension for dui massachusetts. (Note that if a 24D disposition is imposed or elected for an individual 21 or older, the ability to obtain a hardship license can be achieved even though the 6 month period has not been served). It helps to have a Massachusetts drunk driving attorney to provide you with advice.
The above license concerns are further enhanced if you have a commercial driver’s license for dui massachusetts. For example, there is no hardship relief available for a chemical test refusal suspension relative to a commercial driver’s license. Additionally, there is a 1 year commercial driver’s license loss for a chemical test refusal on a first offense dui Massachusetts, and an additional 1 year commercial license loss upon conviction or assignment to the 24D program. An experienced Mass dui lawyer can help your chances of beating the charges.
Call an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving attorney today.