With Thanksgiving this week, we are at the time of the year for celebration and for spending time with family and friends. It is important to note, however, that during this season, if your celebration involves the consumption of alcohol and operation of a motor vehicle, police will have a stepped up enforcement patrol and will be looking for impaired operators, according to DUI attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA.
If you find yourself in a position where you have been stopped after consuming alcoholic beverages, you should keep in mind a few things. First of all, it is important to remain calm, and be respectful of the officer. Panicking, shaking because of nerves, or becoming angry at the officer can all be construed as potential signs of intoxication.
Similarly, you must keep in mind that in most circumstances in Massachusetts, the police officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests. There are many ways to interpret these tests, and it goes without saying that balancing tests late at night on the side of the road are not generally going to favor the person performing the tests. As a result, please note that under Massachusetts law, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, and such refusal evidence can’t be used against you at trial during the Commonwealth’s case.
Finally, if the police believe they have enough evidence and arrest you for DUI, you will be afforded the opportunity for a breathalyzer test. As with field sobriety tests, you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, and the refusal can’t be used against you at trial in the Commonwealth’s case in chief. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, this is often the most important decision that reflects heavily on the difference between a guilty and not guilty finding.
Note that a lack of breathalyzer evidence will often significantly aid anyone criminally charged, however, such refusal will have license implications that can cause a suspension from 180 days to life, even with an acquittal.
So if you or someone you know is charged with DUI over the holiday season, do the right thing and contact an experienced DUI attorney who will fight for you and your license.