When you are charged with a DUI in Massachusetts, the consequences can be severe if you are convicted. You could lose your driver’s license, have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and spend some time in jail. Even worse, a conviction will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
It’s important to make sure that you avoid errors and pitfalls that could make the situation worse. Learn how to protect your rights when you are the subject of a DUI stop.
OUI Penalties in Massachusetts
DUI and OUI are interchangeable when speaking in terms of drunk driving however OUI is the official acronym for Massachusetts.
The first step in protecting yourself is to understand the potential penalties you might face. In Massachusetts, a first offense OUI can land you up to 30 months in jail, carry a fine of anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and you could face suspension of your license for up to a year.
Subsequent offenses get progressively worse: you could pay anywhere from $600 to $50,000, depending on how many times you have been arrested, spend up to 5 years in jail and lose your license for several years or even permanently. The state takes drunk driving very seriously. Even worse, these convictions remain on your record for life.
During the Suspected DUI Stop
To protect yourself you need to take the right steps during the traffic stop. Be cooperative with the officer but be careful about what you say. You still have a right against self-incrimination, even though the officer does not need to read you your rights during a traffic stop.
You can decline to answer questions, and you should not say anything to this officer! All you need to do is provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration give it to them and remain silent for the rest of this stop.
Should you decline to answer questions, do it politely. Do not be argumentative or challenge the officer’s authority; doing so will only elevate an already tense situation.
Keep calm and keep your wits about you as much as possible and remain silent.
Field and Chemical Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are also optional. However, it’s important to note that Massachusetts operates under implied consent. This means that just by getting behind the wheel, you have agreed to take any requested chemical blood alcohol test.
I can’t tell you to refusing such a test can result in automatic suspension of your license along with a possible arrest. But by attempting to perform these tests you are only providing testimony by the police to tell the jury how in his/her opinion how impaired you are.
If you have done the above and still get arrested remember you have not given up too much negative evidence to be proffered to the jury—your final challenge is do you take the Breath Test which have been proven to be inaccurate an unreliable in the past.
So since you have not talked to the officer he can’t say you slurred your speech. You did not perform any field sobriety dexterity test of balance and coordination so this will not be used against you. Then don’t blow and just wait to be bailed out. This is the best method of getting the best result at a quick trial.
Massachusetts OUI Investigation – Your Rights
The best way to protect your rights in an OUI investigation rights is to call upon the services of a qualified defense attorney.
If you have been arrested for operating under the influence in Massachusetts, don’t wait. Read about your rights under Massachusetts law and give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you fight these charges!