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Operating Under the Influence in Framingham, Massachusetts

If you are facing your first OUI charge, or a subsequent charge in Framingham, you need the help of an experienced OUI attorney right away.  There are recent changes in Massachusetts law that may affect the consequences of your charges.  

Attorney Chris Spring, a former Middlesex County prosecutor and criminal law attorney for twenty years, can explain these changes in the law and what they mean for your driver’s license, court penalties, and prospects.

Call Attorney Chris Spring at Spring & Spring today.  Attorney Spring is:

  • Aggressive when dealing with the Commonwealth and securing your rights;
  • Available to his clients nights, weekends, and holidays; and
  • Experienced as a former prosecutor and now a dedicated defense attorney.

Your first consultation is confidential and risk-free.  Attorney Spring will meet you at your home.  Contact him now to start building your defense. 

Do I Need a Framingham OUI Criminal Defense Attorney?

A Framingham OUI criminal defense attorney, like Attorney Chris Spring, works diligently to protect you from the consequences of an OUI conviction.  Depending on your specific circumstances, an experienced OUI defense attorney may advocate for you in the following ways:

  • Challenging the initial motor vehicle stop;
  • Challenging the validity of the field sobriety tests;
  • Disputing the Breathalyzer test itself, testing methods, or validity;
  • Challenging the validity of prior convictions;
  • Filing a motion to suppress evidence;
  • Filing a motion to dismiss your case; or 
  • Taking your case to trial before a jury.

Attorney Spring has successfully won cases for clients using all of these methods.  Schedule your free consultation with Attorney Chris Spring to learn more about your charges and what types of defenses may work for you.

Melanie’s Law

Operating under the influence of alcohol is a severe and common charge in the Commonwealth.  The penalties for an OUI can follow defendants throughout their lifetime.  This is especially so since the passage of Melanie’s Law in 2005.

Melanie’s Law enhanced the penalties for operating under the influence of alcohol in Massachusetts.  Now, a Breathalyzer reading of .08 is “per se” sufficient to convict a defendant of an OUI, and a refusal to undergo a Breathalyzer exam automatically suspends a defendant’s driver’s license with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Melanie’s Law also lifted the time limit on look-back periods for prior OUI convictions.

Establishing an OUI-Alcohol Case in Framingham

To prove a defendant operated under the influence of alcohol, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Operated or otherwise controlled a motor vehicle;
  2. On a public way; and
  3. While under the influence of alcohol or while his or her blood-alcohol level was .08 or higher.

Often, defense attorneys will challenge the final element of the OUI charge by arguing their clients were not under the influence of alcohol.  “Under the influence of alcohol” means the defendant drank too much alcohol to drive safely.  

Police officers use evidence gathered by their observations during field sobriety tests and the Breathalyzer to conclude someone is under the influence of alcohol.  However, a skilled defense attorney will attack any field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer tests using strategic arguments individually tailored to a defendant’s circumstances.  

Establishing an OUI-Drugs Case in Framingham

The Commonwealth must prove similar elements to convict a defendant of operating under the influence of drugs.  The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Operated or controlled a motor vehicle;
  2. On a public way;
  3. While under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, a depressant, a narcotic, the vapors of glue, or a stimulant.

As with alcohol, the most challenging aspect of an OUI-drugs case for the Commonwealth is proving the driver was under the influence of some sort of a drug.  Often a drug recognition expert is called to testify in an OUI-drugs trial.  A drug recognition expert explains why the arresting officer’s observations would indicate drug usage by the defendant.  

Defending Operating Under the Influence Charges

A skilled criminal attorney will defend their client by calling attention to important details that are often overlooked, and countering officer observations,  field sobriety tests, prior convictions, and the Breathalyzer test.

  • Countering officer observations: A driver may be suspected of driving under the influence as a result of bloodshot eyes or the odor of alcohol. However, blood shot eyes can be caused by other factors, such as lack of sleep, allergies, or a sickness. An odor can come from drinking a couple of drinks and does not indicate guilt.
  • Countering field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are frequently conducted at night, in bad weather and bad lighting. The driver is understandably nervous from the police officer’s questioning and accusations, and may struggle with the tests as a result of that. Therefore, the accuracy of field sobriety tests under these circumstances is unclear.
  • Attacking prior convictions: In Massachusetts, it is legal to consume alcohol before driving as long as the alcohol does not impair the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. It is important to note that many other factor outside of alcohol can lead to erratic driving, including but not limited to, the weather, other drivers, or distractions in the car, such as cell phone use.
  • Attacking the Breathalyzer test: Breathalyzer tests must be operated using specific guidelines, and if the operator is not properly certified or fails to allow the machine time to warm up before conducting the test, the test could produce unreliable and inaccurate results. External factors could also interfere with the reading, including the driver vomiting or the machine lacking proper maintenance per Massachusetts law.

To learn more about defenses for an OUI-drugs or alcohol charge, contact a local OUI attorney who knows the Framingham criminal court process.  Attorney Chris Spring has a track record of success in hundreds of OUI cases and will speak with you candidly about the charges you face as well as your options and possible outcomes.  Call him at Spring & Spring today.