A conviction for operating under the influence of alcohol (also known as drunk driving, OUI, and DWI) carries criminal penalties and driver’s license suspensions. There are also collateral consequences involving employment, education, insurance and background checks. A prior OUI conviction on your record or other aggravating factors will dramatically increase the potential penalties in court and at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Operating under the influence of alcohol is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Massachusetts, and many of us probably know someone who has been arrested for OUI. Don’t let this fact fool you into believing that an OUI arrest is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. The penalties that accompany an OUI conviction are severe and long-lasting.
Attorney Chris Spring has litigated hundreds of drunk driving cases, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. He knows how to attack the Commonwealth’s case to avoid or minimize the tougher penalties under Melanie’s Law. Clients choose Chris Spring for many different reasons, including:
When you need aggressive legal representation to save you from the worst possible penalties for an OUI, count on Attorney Chris Spring. Our defense law firm will do everything we can to achieve a positive case outcome on your behalf.
A police officer in Middlesex County must have probable cause to pull you over. The officer must suspect you of committing an infraction, such as speeding or running a red light, to make the stop. During the traffic stop, if the officer has a reason to suspect drunk driving, he or she may ask you to complete a Breathalyzer and/or field sobriety test. While you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer, this will automatically result in the suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days under Massachusetts’ law. It could also serve as evidence against you during an OUI hearing.
A Breathalyzer test takes a breath sample from you and analyzes it to determine the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. In Massachusetts, if your breath test reads 0.08% blood alcohol concentration or higher, you have broken the state’s OUI law. A field sobriety test is not as scientific. It is a test of your listening skills and coordination to gauge whether or not you are intoxicated, based on a series of tests such as the One-Leg Stand, Walk-and-Turn, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate, as a driver can fail them for physical reasons (e.g. an injury or disability) and not because of drunkenness.
If the police officer’s assessment gives him or her enough probable cause, the officer will place you under arrest for a suspected operating under the influence offense. Cooperate with the arrest, but do not answer any of the officer’s questions – such as how much you have had to drink – until you have an attorney present. Use your right to remain silent to protect yourself from self-incrimination. Once you get to the police department for booking, contact an OUI defense attorney or call a friend to do so for you. Hiring a defense lawyer immediately is the best way to protect yourself against OUI charges.
Attorney Spring defends OUI cases in every courthouse in Middlesex, Worcester, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex Counties. He has defended cases involving every type of scenario related to allegations of impaired driving:
The passage of Melanie’s Law in 2005 enhanced Massachusetts’ drunk driving penalties, particularly for repeat offenders. There is now a lifetime look-back period for prior convictions, meaning that you could face mandatory jail time even if your past OUI convictions were decades ago. In addition, Melanie’s Law allows a Breathalyzer reading of .08 to be sufficient evidence for a “per se” conviction for OUI, and the Registry of Motor Vehicle automatically suspends defendants’ driver’s licenses when they refuse to blow the Breathalyzer.
Operating under the influence is a crime that Massachusetts takes seriously. Due to the possibility of a drunk driver causing serious injuries or deaths, the Massachusetts legislature imposes strict penalties against those who commit this offense. Your specific penalties will depend on the type of conviction, the severity of the damage you caused by driving drunk, your criminal record and prior convictions, and other factors. Your charges could result in life-altering consequences depending on the situation.
You could lose your job, your driving privileges, your relationships and your home with a serious OUI conviction. At Spring & Spring, our Middlesex County drunk driving attorneys will work hard to protect you from the worst possible penalties for an OUI. Our lawyers have represented clients during OUI cases in the past and won results such as acquittals and not-guilty verdicts. We have also mitigated charges to bring them down and lessen the penalties our clients face. Find out how we can help you today.
Your OUI defense can be imperative for your future. A strong defense could protect you from a conviction that would otherwise stay on the record for the rest of your life. It is important to hire an experienced drunk driving defense attorney in Middlesex County if you are facing any charges related to alleged operating under the influence. A lawyer from Spring & Spring can look at the facts of your case and personalize a defense strategy to give you the best chances of a positive outcome. There could be a few options for an OUI defense depending on your case.
Our lawyers will recommend the ideal legal strategy for your specific situation. If this is to plead not guilty and use a defense to try to achieve case dismissal or acquittal, this is what we will do. Otherwise, we may negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution that results in less serious charges or penalties against you. We will do everything we can to come to your defense and mitigate the effect an OUI charge has on your life. Learn more about our defense strategies for your specific case with a free consultation.
If you are facing any type of operating under the influence charge in Massachusetts, protect your rights by hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Every defendant in the US has the right to legal representation. If you cannot afford a private attorney, the courts will appoint a public defender for you. Hiring a private attorney could give you an edge, however, as your lawyer will have special experience, knowledge and resources to put toward your case.
Hire the right lawyer for your case by looking for a few key traits. First, search for a lawyer in Middlesex County with experience in drunk driving defense law. Ask the attorney about his or her success rate and check for law firm reviews or client testimonials. Schedule a free consultation with potential law firm options and ask each lawyer how he or she can help. The lawyer you choose should have the time to dedicate 100% of his or her attention to your case.
Given the potentially devastating consequences of an OUI conviction, you will need every advantage if you have been charged with drunk driving. Before entering private practice Attorney Spring was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County where he prosecuted hundreds of OUI cases. Since founding Spring & Spring, he has defended hundreds of people charged with drunk driving. He has successfully defended cases by challenging the initial motor vehicle stop, the field sobriety tests, the Breathalyzer results, and the validity of prior convictions. He has won motions to suppress, which resulted in the dismissal of cases, when police officers failed to follow the rules during drunk driving roadblocks. He has convinced juries to return verdicts of not guilty, even where his clients have admitted to drinking or using drugs, failed the Breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, and been involved in serious car accidents.
Before you return to court or talk to the police, it is crucial that you meet with an experienced Middlesex County criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Contact Attorney Chris Spring today to schedule a free consultation at your home.