Being arrested for Drunk Driving (DUI/OUI/DWI) can be a devastatingly life changing event. Not only the stigma of being arrested for DUI is with you but the potential penalties can result in incarceration in jail or State Prison, thousands of dollars of mandatory OUI fines and fees, and long periods of license suspension for DWI.
The consequences of Drunk Driving can be minimized or possibly avoided all together. First, it is important to engage the right Operating Under the Influence defense attorney. Many defense attorneys are adequate at representing people with an array of criminal law matters and at a low cost. However, the old adage is true that you get what you pay for. When it is your livelihood at stake, is this the time to bargain shop for a DUI attorney?
What you should know about OUI charges are that if an experienced attorney is engaged early it can make a world of a difference. In an OUI case the state’s prosecutor has to prove several things beyond a reasonable doubt, we call these parts elements of the crime. In an OUI case the elements of the crime are that the 1.) accused, 2.) operated a motor vehicle, 3.) on a pubic way and 4.) while his/her ability to do so was impaired or his/her blood alcohol content is above .08.
It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they have the right person before the court. This is simple enough to prove but does require some sort of identification or circumstantial evidence; normally a police officer’s testimony or a civilian’s testimony that was at the scene of the alleged crime will suffice.
Secondly to prove an OUI, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had operated a motor vehicle. Again proving this element is normally not that difficult, however a trained experienced attorney may be able to exploit this area to your advantage. The specific facts of your case will be determinative of the viability of mounting a defense on this issue.
Thirdly to prove an OUI, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the operation of the vehicle occurred on a public way. Again, this may seem like an easy thing to prove, but for an inexperienced prosecutor they may overlook this element allowing an experienced OUI attorney to secure a directed verdict or a not guilty. Simply put the prosecutor must prove that the operation occurred in an area generally open to other members of the public to operate their vehicles.
Finally, the state’s prosecutor must prove that your ability to do so was impaired or that your blood alcohol content was above a .08. If the individual facts of the case permit the prosecutor can proceed on both theories.
Starting with the latter, whether you have a blood alcohol content of .08 will be proven either by a blood test or more commonly a breathalyzer test. However, if you had refused to take either type of test this theory of prosecution will be unavailable and additionally the fact that a refusal occurred is inadmissible at trial in Massachusetts.
Of some final consideration is whether this is a subsequent OUI, Massachusetts allows for lifetime look back, thus if you have ever been found guilty or received a continuance without a finding for OUI in any state in your lifetime you can be charged with the appropriate subsequent offense and have enhanced penalties, I have listed the potential penalties below. In practical terms this means that the prosecutor must have a second trial if you are found guilty of an OUI at the first trial, this is what is referred to a bifurcated trial. The prosecutor at this second trial has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is in fact you that has been previously convicted of a previous drunk driving crime. Proving the subsequent portion is often done through certified court documents, live testimony and registry of motor vehicle records. Again, this element tends to be hyper technical and requires an experienced attorney to combat it.
It is important to engage a Drunk Driving attorney with experience and an inside knowledge of DUI laws. Attorney Newton, during his time as a criminal prosecutor in Boston, NH State Police and NYC, prosecuted hundreds of Drunk Driving cases and has successfully taken to trial and won some of the toughest Operating Under the Influence criminal cases. The inside knowledge of how the state’s criminal prosecutor thinks and how the criminal system works is an invaluable tool for obtaining the best results in a criminal Drunk Driving case.
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