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Boston Criminal Defense Law Blog

Drugged driving is illegal

Convictions for impaired driving are not limited to the usual suspects of alcohol, illegal drugs or marijuana. Driving while taking legally prescribed drugs may be dangerous and lead to an arrest requiring an OUI defense.

Benzodiazepines, opioids and other prescription drugs can impair a motorist's skills by causing drowsiness, dizziness and impair the ability for thinking and making judgments. These can lead to car crashes.

5 sobriety checkpoint tips

When you see an OUI checkpoint up ahead, it can make you nervous and uncomfortable. Even if you are not under the influence of any substance, going through a sobriety checkpoint can still be inconvenient and invasive. While these checkpoints may feel unfair or intrusive, they are legal in Massachusetts under state and federal law.

How you conduct yourself during a police checkpoint can greatly affect the outcome. Here is some general information about your rights and how to behave during a checkpoint.

Breathalyzer tests allowed again

A breathalyzer or other test can play a major role in prosecuting a driver in Massachusetts for an operating under the influence charge. An OUI defense helps protect rights by assuring that this testing is accurate. Recently, however, Massachusetts will again use breathalyzer test evidence that was rejected in OUI cases.

Litigation previously uncovered improper procedures used by the state's office of alcohol testing. In Feb. 2017, a district court judge ruled that office operated without reliable standards used for maintaining breath test machines which jeopardized their use in court cases. As a result, breath test results could not be used as evidence in OUI prosecutions. The judge later discovered that the OAT did not disclose important evidence in that case.

What is an ignition interlock device?

Conviction of an operating under the influence offense in Massachusetts has serious consequences, such as the loss of a driver's license. In certain cases, however, there are provisions allowing an OUI and driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Melanie's Law requires multiple OUI offenders, those with at least two alcohol or controlled substance OUI convictions, to install an IID in their vehicles for a specified time. Drivers with a conditional hardship license or who are eligible for license reinstatement after completing suspension license or revocation periods must install this device in their vehicles.

Will an out-of-state OUI affect you in Massachusetts?

Most states share information with one another about drunk drivers. However, Massachusetts is one of five states that does not share such information that would normally go through the Driver's License Compact.

In the event a Massachusetts resident with a state driver's license ends up with an OUI in another state, then the state would still receive that information. The individual would then need to fight the charges in two states instead of one. Most people end up needing an attorney in both states, and it creates significant problems for the supposed drunk driver involved. 

What is a field sobriety test?

When stopping a suspected drunk driver, police will look for evidence of impairment. A 3-part field sobriety test is a typical method and its execution needs to be addressed in an OUI defense.

First, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test checks the involuntary jerking of an eyeball when an object is moved side to side. An impaired driver's side-to-side gaze will reveal substantial jerking.

How to stop your teen from drinking and driving

Keeping a teenager out of trouble can be difficult, but it is a worthy pursuit. You do not want to see your teen get hurt, cause injury to someone else or face criminal penalties for making an unwise decision. But how can you stop your teenage child from drinking and driving?

While you may not be able to control every choice your teen makes, you can help steer him or her in the right direction. The following suggestions can help you keep your teen from getting an underage OUI conviction. 

Are there additional OUI penalties for underaged drinkers?

An OUI charge can follow you for a long while, and penalties can impact your life for years, depending on the number of offenses you have accumulated. These hardships are even greater if you are underage at the time of the incident.

For drivers under 21, OUI penalties are especially strict. Know what to expect if you are facing your first offense.

Key OUI distinctions you should know

A motor vehicle is a heavy piece of machinery that requires proper care and operation. For this reason, there are serious consequences when individuals operate any type of vehicle while under the influence of particular substances.

If you or a loved one face OUI charges, it is important to understand the various aspects of the charges, so you can make an educated decision about the path you should choose. As such, there are a few key distinctions of an OUI charge that you should know.

OUI convictions may remain on criminal records

OUI convictions may lead to a jail sentence and fines in Massachusetts. Other OUI conviction consequences include a criminal record that can follow the offender's business and academic life and cost money.

A first-time OUI conviction may carry a term of imprisonment of up to 2½ years, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and license suspension for up to one year. A conviction without the option of entering any type of probationary or pre-trial diversion program may remain on a person's criminal and driving records.

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