It doesn’t matter what field you’re employed in, what your lifestyle is or how much money you have, an OUI arrest can happen to anyone. It only takes one bad decision; you left a company party, you went out with friends after work or you’re coming back from a family get-together and you’re not paying attention as much attention as you should be causing the appearance of erratic driving. Your driving catches the eye of a police officer, they assume you’re intoxicated and you’re pulled over under the suspicion of OUI.
Massachusetts Implied Consent Rules
You have every right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test if you’re stopped for suspicion of drunk driving. However, doing so has associated risks you need to understand. Massachusetts has an implied consent rule; even refusing a breath test for your first OUI arrest could mean you could lose your license for 180 days. You can refuse the test and appeal that suspension but it’s important to understand you could lose.
What Type of Hearing is Held for Suspension?
This hearing is different from the criminal charges you are facing. The hearing is held by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Basically, the hearing is only to determine three things; first whether you were arrested, second if the officer had reasonable cause to believe you were under the influence and finally if you refused to submit to the test. If all three of these questions are answered affirmatively, the registry will likely uphold the suspension.
What happens if I’m Later Found Not Guilty?
In the event your case for OUI is later dismissed or you’re found not guilty, you can request the court lift your license suspension. A separate petition must be filed; it is not automatic in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What happens if I’m Found Guilty of OUI?
In most cases, a first-time OUI offense in Massachusetts is not likely to result in the maximum sentence being given. The maximum penalty is two-and-a-half year’s jail time, fines of $5,000 and loss of your license for a year (in addition to the 180 days if you refused a breathalyzer).
For most people, a first offense will result in a plea deal which is “continuance without finding (CWOF)”. While this finding will remain on your record permanently (and may be used if you’re arrested for OUI in the future), you’ll likely be facing less onerous penalties. Generally, a CWOF results in a one-year probation term, a suspension of your license for up to 90 days and a mandatory alcohol education program which typically lasts for 16 weeks. This is the minimum penalty allowed by the state’s statutes.
If you’re facing OUI charges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, contact Attorney Jamison M. House at 617-216-2094 immediately. Not too long ago, there was a great deal of news about the inaccuracies of breathalyzer tests which may have an impact on your particular case. Just because you were stopped and may have failed a breath test does not mean you will automatically be found guilty of OUI.