How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help You Fight OUI/DUI/DWI Charges
Massachusetts has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. Since the 2005 enactment of “Melanie’s Law,” a conviction for Operating under the Influence (OUI), sometimes referred to as Driving under the Influence (DUI) or Driving while Intoxicated (DWI), can result in very serious penalties, including the suspension of driving privileges, jail time, and heavy fines. If you are facing charges in the Boston area, you may benefit significantly from retaining an experienced OUI lawyer who can defend you to the full extent of the law. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused, and we are here 24/7 to answer your call.Fighting OUI Charges in Massachusetts
It is a violation of Massachusetts law to operate a motor vehicle in a public place with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, narcotics, depressants, stimulants, or vapors of glue. One can be convicted of OUI for operating a motor vehicle with either a diminished capacity or a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater. The latter is a “per se” alternative that does not require actual proof of diminished capacity.
The minimum fine for a first offense OUI is $500, while the maximum fine is $5,000. A first offense OUI conviction can also result in imprisonment of up to 2½ years and a five-year driver’s license suspension. However, a defendant who is convicted of OUI for the first time may be able to get a reduction in his or her sentence by completing an alcohol education program approved by the state. Some defendants may also qualify for an alternative disposition called a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which can result in less severe penalties than a conviction.
Other possible penalties under Massachusetts OUI laws may include ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of repeat offenders, as well as a license suspension for the refusal to take a breath test, including a lifetime suspension for the refusal to take a test after a fatal accident. Penalties also increase for repeat offenders.
If you have been charged with OUI or another crime, you should know that you have rights that a knowledgeable lawyer may be vital in helping you assert. The U.S. Constitution requires that law enforcement officers comply with certain procedural and evidentiary requirements in order to secure a conviction. A meticulous criminal defense attorney can investigate a defendant’s arrest to determine whether officers complied with the law during every step of the process.
In order to establish probable cause, officers usually rely on field sobriety tests (FST), such as a walk-and-turn test, a one-leg stand, or a horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN). However, such tests are not completely reliable, and a skillful attorney can sometimes expose errors in the way that an officer performed or interpreted the tests.
Likewise, chemical tests like breath, blood, or urine testing are not always foolproof. Breath testing devices, such as a Breathalyzer machine, can give erroneous results due to improper calibration, illness, a particular individual’s metabolism, or interfering substances such as vomit, blood, or alcohol. Like other electronic devices, they can also be subject to electrical interference.
In any prosecution, the state has a burden to prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. A tenacious OUI lawyer can make every effort to find and expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, including the qualifications and credibility of the state’s witnesses and any issues with the testing equipment or the procedure by which the test was administered.Enlist a Boston Lawyer to Protect Your Rights against the Prosecution
A conviction for drunk driving can have serious consequences on your freedom and your finances for years to come. If you have been arrested in Boston or the surrounding communities, you should speak to DUI attorney Patrick J. Murphy about your legal rights and options. You can reach the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy at 617-367-0450 any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or you can use our online form to set up an appointment. The initial consultation is free, and all communications are confidential. Our Boston office is conveniently located near the courts and public transportation. It is also handicap accessible. We also represent defendants across Suffolk County and in other areas of Massachusetts, such as in Wrentham and Woburn District Courts.