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When Should You Hire an OUI Defense Attorney?

Posted on November 14, 2023 in

If you are facing charges for allegedly operating under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, many aspects of your future could be at risk. While you have the right to represent yourself in criminal court, it is generally in your best interest to hire an experienced Concord OUI defense attorney to represent you – especially in certain circumstances. A lawyer can craft a strong and dynamic defense to minimize the effects of an OUI on your life as much as possible.

If There Are Aggravating Factors

Aggravating factors are circumstances surrounding an alleged criminal offense that makes the crime particularly serious in the eyes of the law. Convictions for aggravated crimes are penalized more harshly in an effort to prevent repeat offenders and dissuade others in the community from committing similar crimes. If you are facing an aggravated or felony OUI charge in Massachusetts, you should hire an attorney to defend you.

Aggravating factors include:

  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level was at or above 0.15 percent.
  • This isn’t your first OUI arrest or you’ve been convicted of drunk driving before.
  • You have an existing criminal record, with or without OUIs.
  • You were involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident.
  • Someone was hurt in connection to your OUI arrest.
  • You were driving with a child under the age of 15 in the car.
  • You were operating a vehicle on a suspended, revoked or canceled driver’s license.
  • You were operating a vehicle that had an ignition interlock device installed.

In any of these situations, you could be facing heftier fines, mandatory drug or alcohol counseling, driver’s license suspension for at least one year, a longer jail sentence, or even prison time. If your OUI is being charged as a felony, you could also be looking at the loss of certain constitutional rights if you are convicted, such as the right to vote and bear arms, as well as long-term effects on your career.

Private Lawyer vs. Public Defender

All criminal defendants have the right to an attorney. You should be told that if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to you. A court-appointed lawyer is known as a public defender. If desired, a public defender can be assigned to you for a reduced cost or no charge at all, depending on your economic situation. However, this might not be the best defense option for you.

While hiring a private OUI defense attorney will cost more money, you get what you pay for. Public defenders are generally dealing with a lot of cases at a time. Large caseloads can mean that you do not receive the undivided attention of your lawyer. A private defense lawyer, on the other hand, will dedicate the time and attention that your case deserves to deliver the best possible results. It is especially important to hire a private attorney if you are facing serious or aggravated charges or you have a criminal history.

Get a Lawyer’s Opinion About Your Case

Each operating under the influence case is different. While hiring a lawyer will almost always be beneficial in some ways, it may not be necessary or worth the expense in a standard first-time OUI case. Under unique circumstances, however, it may be important to your future to hire a private defense attorney. The best way to protect yourself is by consulting with an OUI defense lawyer near you about your specific case during a free consultation before you decide.

A lawyer will review your case and give you a professional opinion as to whether or not it is worthwhile to hire a private defense attorney based on the circumstances. A lawyer’s time is money; if your case does not appear to need a private attorney, he or she will not waste his or her time representing you. Therefore, you can trust the legal opinion you receive from a lawyer. If you or a loved one has been arrested under OUI charges, call Spring & Spring at (617) 513-9444 to find out if you could benefit from hiring an attorney.