Operating Under the Influence (OUI/DWI/DUI)
In Massachusetts, you can be charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI). In other states, the same crime is known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
An OUI may be either an OUI Liquor or an OUI Drugs. In either case, you are charged with operating a vehicle on a public road or a road that the public has access to while your ability to drive is impaired by either liquor or drugs.
In order to be charged with an OUI, the intoxicated individual does not need to be driving the vehicle when he/she is caught. The driver may be sleeping at a traffic light, on the side of the road or even changing a flat tire.
The prosecutor only needs to show that the defendant was driving a car at some point in time while under the influence of liquor. He/she may prove his/her case by showing, among things, that the driver was unsteady on his/her feet, was slurring words, had red eyes, smelled of liquor, was unable to walk a straight line or could not recite the alphabet correctly.
What to do if you are stopped for an OUI
First, you should be polite to the officers. In a stressful situation, it is natural to be irritated or panicked. But stay calm, keep your hands on the steering wheel and answer the officer’s questions politely. You’ll often find that officers try to incriminate you in these situations, so be careful not to say anything out of panic which may be harmful to your defense.
This brings us to the second point: avoid self-incrimination, including field sobriety tests. You have a right to refuse sobriety tests, but again, remember to be polite and non-aggressive. If an officer wants you to walk a line, or stand on one foot, or recite the alphabet or count backwards, it’s because he/she already suspects you were driving under the influence. If you think you cannot perform the test, simply refuse to take it. Your refusal cannot be used against you in court.
You can also refuse to take the breathalyzer, but this comes with penalties meant to ensure your compliance. The instant you refuse the test, your license will be suspended for a certain number of days, depending on your age and your driving history. In Massachusetts, you cannot get a temporary license until it has been suspended at least half of the time. This suspension may seem unfair, but there are still certain advantages to refusing a test. Your refusal cannot be used against you in court, and the lack of a breathalyzer test may eventually help you beat an OUI charge.
Contact Elliot Savitz
If you are arrested for an OUI, the most important thing for you to do is to pick up the phone immediately and call an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can help reduce the impact of that charge on your life. Driving licenses are usually essential to employment and family life, so why take the risk of defending yourself in court?
A knowledgeable attorney will quickly evaluate your case, discuss your options, and help you to develop a winning defense strategy. He/she can negotiate with the prosecutor in your best interest and/or file timely motions to suppress the evidence/statements or dismiss the case altogether. You will also sleep better at night knowing you have an experienced attorney by your side throughout the intimidating criminal justice process.
SO PICK UP THE PHONE RIGHT NOW AND CALL ATTORNEY ELLIOT SAVITZ AT (781) 326-2700 FOR A FREE, NO OBLIGATION CONSULTATION. He has a winning track record and is available 24/7.
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