Continuance Without a Finding
If you’ve been arrested for a Boston OUI offense, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. You may be wondering how an OUI conviction will impact your life. Will you lose your license? Will you need to go to jail? If so, how will you continue to support yourself and your family? For those without a lengthy record, a “continuance without a finding” (CWOF) may be a good option. However, accepting a CWOF is a major decision and one that carries its own set of risks. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is an experienced defense lawyer with significant experience helping clients effectively deal with drunk driving charges through litigation and negotiation. Regardless of your situation, Attorney Murphy can explain your options and help you pursue your chosen course of action.What is a Continuance Without a Finding?
A CWOF is a type of plea you enter when charged with an OUI offense. When you enter a CWOF plea, you are not saying you are guilty or not guilty; instead, you are merely admitting that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict you. After accepting a CWOF, the court will place you on probation and impose several conditions of supervision. If you successfully complete the term, the case will be dismissed.
The terms of a CWOF can vary; however, they frequently include the following:
- Participation in an alcohol-education class;
- A 45 to 90-day driver’s license suspension;
- Community service;
- Court costs and fines;
- Reporting to a probation officer;
- Travel restrictions; and
- Drug and alcohol testing.
For most purposes, a CWOF plea will not result in a conviction on your record. Thus, a CWOF is a good option for professionals who cannot have an OUI conviction on their record. However, it will count as a prior conviction if you are ever arrested again in the future. This means if you ever face another OUI charge, it will be considered a second offense and will carry more significant penalties.Should I Try for a CWOF?
The first thing to note about a CWOF is that not everyone facing Boston OUI charges is eligible for a CWOF. The prosecution must agree to the plea. Thus, in most cases, a CWOF is only available to those who either do not have a prior OUI conviction or, if they do have one, it was a long time ago. Similarly, those with a significant criminal record may also be unable to obtain a CWOF.
However, just because a CWOF is on the table does not mean that you should take it. There are several things to consider when thinking about a CWOF. For instance, when you enter a CWOF plea, you are giving up your right to fight the case. So, if you or your attorney thinks that you could beat the case, entering a CWOF plea may be unwise. This may be because the officer who stopped you didn’t follow the required protocol leading up to your arrest or if the Commonwealth cannot prove you were driving the car. Additionally, the terms of a CWOF plea may be similar to a sentence for an OUI conviction. Thus, if there is any chance of challenging the evidence, you may opt to take the case to trial.
A continuance without a finding makes the most sense for people who have a lot to lose if they are convicted. For example, if your job will terminate your employment if you are convicted of a crime. However, a CWOF will still show up on some background checks and may prevent you from getting certain jobs. For example, you cannot drive for a rideshare company if you have a CWOF on your record.
The decision to seek out and accept a CWOF is complex and should only be made with the assistance of an experienced Boston OUI defense lawyer.Are You Facing Drunk Driving Charges?
If you were recently arrested for a Boston OUI offense and worry about the impact a conviction could have on your record, contact the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy. Attorney Murphy has handled OUI cases for more than 25 years and has a keen understanding of the considerations that go into deciding whether to accept a continuance without a finding. He will attentively listen to your situation before advising you on how to proceed. To learn more about how an experienced lawyer can help you fight OUI/DUI/DWI charges, call the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy at (617) 367-0450 to schedule a free consultation today.