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Operating Under the Influence in Lowell, Massachusetts

Operating under the influence (OUI) is a common criminal charge in Lowell, Massachusetts. It describes the crime of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. The vehicle does not have to be in motion or even running for the police to arrest a driver for an alleged OUI. If you are facing OUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Lowell, do not hesitate to contact Spring & Spring.

Attorney Chris Spring offers:

  • Free initial consultations in Lowell. He will come to your home to discuss the facts of your case.
  • Honest and dependable legal advice about your case and situation.
  • Personalized and aggressive legal defense strategies during an OUI case.

Call us at (617) 513-9444 if you were recently arrested for allegedly operating under the influence in Lowell, Massachusetts. We can explain your rights during a free case review.

Should You Hire an OUI Defense Lawyer?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes operating under the influence crimes very seriously. Prosecutors will work hard to achieve a guilty verdict as a lesson for other drivers in Massachusetts. The best way to protect yourself during the criminal justice process is to hire an experienced attorney, such as Attorney Chris Spring. A criminal defense lawyer in Lowell will explain the state’s OUI laws and help you create a defense. 

Hiring a criminal defense attorney can come with many benefits. Attorney Spring has practiced the area of OUI and DWI law for many years. He and his team accept both misdemeanor and felony operating under the influence cases. We can help you with any type of OUI case, including one involving a serious car accident with bodily injuries. 

What Is an Operating Under the Influence Charge in Massachusetts?

Operating under the influence in Massachusetts is a serious crime with penalties to match. The official definition of OUI in the Commonwealth is being in control of a vehicle, on a public road, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage at or above 0.08%, or after consuming enough drugs or alcohol to impair your ability to safely drive. You could receive an OUI charge in Lowell even with a BAC that is lower than the legal limit if the officer conducting the traffic stop believes you are intoxicated enough to diminish your ability to operate the vehicle.

OUI Penalties

The penalties if the courts convict you of operating under the influence will increase if you are a repeat offender. They can also increase if you caused a car accident with serious bodily injuries or deaths. The general OUI penalties in Massachusetts are as follows:

  • For a first offense, an OUI can result in up to two and a half years in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and one year of license revocation. 
  • For a second offense, the penalties increase to 30 days minimum in jail (or, alternatively, a 14-day inpatient alcohol program), $600 to $10,000 in fines, and two years of license revocation. 
  • A third or subsequent OUI conviction comes with a mandatory minimum of 150 days in jail (up to 5 years in prison), $1,000 to $15,000 in fines and/or license revocation for eight years.

Defending Operating Under the Influence Charges

Some common defenses include:

  • Lack of probable cause to stop you
  • Police officer misconduct
  • Lack of evidence
  • Incorrect chemical test results
  • Unreliable field sobriety tests
  • Medical conditions

A skilled criminal defense attorney will counter the Breathalyzer test, officer observations, prior convictions, and field sobriety tests by providing clarification and information where it is lacking.

  • Countering the Breathalyzer test: How the Breathalyzer is operated matters. If the operator fails to follow the proper guidelines, does not have the qualifications necessary to operate it, or has not properly maintained the machine per Massachusetts law, the results of the test could be highly unreliable and misleading.
  • Countering officer observations: 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. Erratic driving is caused not only by alcohol, but also, by countless other factors including cell phone use, weather conditions and other drivers on the road.
  • Countering prior convictions: If prior convictions are brought up by the prosecutor and indicate that the defendant did not have legal representation, they are inadmissible in court. If the prior convictions come with inconsistent information on the defendant (including social security number, birthday, height weight), we can argue that the convictions do not belong to our client.
  • Countering field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are typically performed in uncomfortable circumstances, including on the side of the road, in the dark, and in bad weather. The driver could be feeling understandably anxious from the questioning and accusations of the police officer, and may have trouble with the test as a result of nerves. In these circumstances, it is difficult to determine if the field sobriety test yields accurate or reliable results.

Do not speak to a police officer until you have contacted a criminal defense lawyer in Lowell. Politely decline to answer any questions, other than giving your name, and explain that you are waiting until your attorney arrives. Then, contact Attorney Chris Spring 24/7 for a free OUI case evaluation. We can help you handle an OUI investigation and criminal case. Discuss defense strategies with our experienced lead attorney today. Call (617) 513-9444.