Of possible interest to fans of the movie “Happy Gilmore” that starred Adam Sandler, there was another notable actor in the film, Christopher McDonald, who played Shooter McGavin. Mr. McDonald was recently arrested for DUI in Los Angeles after returning from an Oktoberfest party. Officers had observed McDonald’s Porsche that had run off the road and into an embankment. When officers approached McDonald and began questioning him on whether he had been drinking, he apparently tried to wiggle his way out of the situation by reminding the officers of his role as Shooter McGavin.
The officers may have acknowledged his movie credits or even congratulated him before arresting and placing him in jail to “sober up,” according to police. This is the second DUI arrest for The Shooter in the past four years. If it is his second conviction, he more than likely faces mandatory jail time under California’s DUI laws and suspension of his driver’s license for 2-years. There was no report of Shooter’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level or if he even consented to testing.
Implied Consent Law
All motorists, whether licensed in Massachusetts or not, impliedly consent to testing of their BAC if an officer has probable cause to believe they have been driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
In Massachusetts, you can be charged with DUI, referred to here as OUI (operating under the influence), if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is at least 0.08%, and/or you were driving while impaired by drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
If you are a minor, you can be arrested for OUI if your BAC is 0.02%, which is really zero tolerance. Commercial drivers may not drive with a BAC of 0.04%. A second DUI conviction will cause them to permanently lose their commercial driver’s license.
A BAC of 0.08% is a permissible inference that you were driving under the influence. As indicated above, this inference also extends to the lower BAC levels for minors and commercial drivers.
Even if you refused BAC testing, officers can still arrest you based on your driving conduct, demeanor, and poor performance on field sobriety tests if taken.
OUI in Massachusetts
The Shooter McGavin matter underscores the seriousness of a DUI/OUI and that police will generally not treat alleged movie stars any differently than you or me. If arrested for a OUI, you risk loss of your driving privileges for a substantial time and may serve jail time, depending on whether you have prior DUI convictions or if you caused an accident or fatal injury while OUI. Promptly retain an experienced DUI lawyer if you have been charged.
In our state, you can be arrested for driving any other type of motor vehicle while OUI, including a boat, moped, motorized bicycle or golf cart so long as it was driven on a public way. It has to be a motor vehicle defined as “all vehicles constructed and designed for propulsion by power other than muscular power.” You can even be charged if you get in your car and start the ignition but have not traveled an inch, or if you merely put your keys in the ignition.
An officer who stops you may make certain observations of you that can lead him or her to suspect you are impaired by drugs or alcohol:
- Slurred speech
- Watery, bloodshot eyes
- Incoherent or nonsensical responses to questions
- Fumbling for driver’s license or registration card
- Stumbling when exiting vehicle
- Belligerent attitude
- Poor performance on field sobriety tests–finger to nose, walking a straight line, counting backwards, etc.
- Result of PAS (preliminary alcohol screening test) of 0.08% or higher
Many police reports will indicate one or more of these observations that serve as probable cause to arrest you for OUI and to request that you submit to chemical testing.
RMV Hearing and License Revocation
If you were arrested for an OUI, you have only 15-days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing before the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to contest your license suspension. You can also request a hearing on your CTI or Chemical Test Refusal if you have a reasonable justification for refusing BAC testing.
Issues at your hearing may include:
- Lack of probable cause to stop you
- Lack of probable cause to arrest you for OUI
- Challenges to the administration and operation of the breath or blood test
- Challenges to the validity of your BAC results
- Justification or reasonableness for refusing BAC testing
If your license revocation is upheld, your suspension periods are:
1. First offense: one year. The court may give you a first offender 24D disposition where your license is suspended for 45-90 days and you can apply for a hardship license for work or attending school when you begin attending a driver alcohol education program. Otherwise you can apply for a hardship license after 3-months of your suspension.
2. Second offense: 2-years. If the first offense was more than 10-years ago, you may get a 24D disposition and apply for hardship license after one year. Otherwise, you can apply for a general hardship license after 18 months. You will also have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car when your hardship license is granted.
3. Third offense–8-years. You may not apply for a hardship license for work or school for 2-years. You may apply for a general hardship license after 4-years. An IID will be required also when a hardship license is granted.
4. Fourth offense: 10-year license revocation. Apply for a hardship license after 5 years and a general hardship license after 8-years along with installation of the IID.
5. Fifth offense–permanent revocation.
If you refused testing, you are not eligible for a hardship license until you have served your full suspension period.
Consult DUI Lawyer Paul R. Moraski
If you were arrested for DUI/OUI, you face serious consequences regarding your license and freedom. There are numerous defenses that an experienced DUI lawyer can offer on your behalf. Paul R. Moraski is an aggressive defense lawyer who will explore all possible defenses to get you the best possible disposition of your case. Call him for a free consultation at (978) 397-0011.