No one wants to be arrested on OUI/DWI charges. It can be an incredibly stressful process that consumes so much of your time and resources.
If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski. Not only will we be your guide throughout the process from arrest to trial, but we’ll also protect you from having your constitutional rights violated.
What Happens As Soon As You Are Arrested?
After you’ve been stopped, your vehicle will be impounded, and you’ll be taken to the station where you’ll be booked. You’ll be notified of your rights, such as the right to a phone call, and ideally, the right to obtain an independent medical exam, where a doctor will draw your blood and test for alcohol content. The police won’t take you to the test, but they are required to complete your booking process within a reasonable amount of time for you to find a third party for the test.
You’ll also be given the option to take a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC), and told of the consequences if you choose not to. Here’s where you may need the advice of a criminal defense lawyer.
A first time offender who takes the test and fails (BAC of 0.08 and above for adults under age 21 and BAC of 0.02 and above for adults over age 21) will lose their license for 30 days. If you refuse to take the test, you will lose your license for 180 days. If it’s not your first rodeo, or you’re under 21, you can expect to lose your license for an extended period.
Most criminal defense lawyers advise their clients to refuse the breathalyzer test. This shouldn’t impact your case negatively. On the other hand, taking the test would essentially mean handing the prosecution the very evidence they need to strengthen the case against you. You can, however, lose your license for longer if you refuse the test and then lose your case.
After reading you your rights and giving you the option to take the breathalyzer test, the police will contact the local bail commissioner. This is a state-appointed individual who sets the bond and bail amounts of people being held in a police station before their arraignment. He/she will weigh your circumstances and then set your bail amount.
Getting Your License Back
You have the option to appeal your license suspension after either refusing to take or failing the breathalyzer test at the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). This can be done within two weeks of your license being suspended. Your chances would be slim though, as the hearing officers often go by the police report, and not any evidence you may present.
If you’ve either taken a plea or had the trial and lost, you can have a hardship hearing to obtain a hardship license. You may qualify for one if you need your license for school, work, or to take care of a child or senior, and you meet certain other conditions your criminal defense lawyer will appraise you of. First-time offenders are more likely to be granted a hardship license. However, you’ll have to at least sign up for an alcohol education class before applying for the license.
The law is quite nuanced, and things aren’t always black and white. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to see all the grays in-between that you can’t, and hopefully guide you through to a more favorable outcome. Have you been arrested recently and slapped with DUI charges in Massachusetts? You don’t have to go through it all by yourself. Be sure to reach out to us today at (978) 397-0011 to book your free consultation.