Facing charges for drunk driving is a serious criminal offense in Massachusetts. If convicted of this type of crime, you could face penalties that could result in time behind bars, steep fines and other penalties that could change the course of your life. Whether it is your first offense or you have others on your record, it is in your interests to defend yourself against OUI charges.
One of the primary elements of developing a strong defense strategy is to carefully evaluate the circumstances of the original traffic stop. There must be a specific and clear reason to detain a driver, and without this, an OUI traffic stop may not be valid. This is reasonable suspicion, and it is an important part of any intoxicated driving case.
What is reasonable suspicion?
An arrest for intoxicated driving starts with reasonable suspicion that a traffic stop is necessary. These are certain types of behaviors and actions that indicate a driver is possibly driving under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance. Police will have reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop if they see any of the following:
- Driver swerving between lanes and having trouble maintaining lane
- Making illegal turns or failing to stop at an intersection
- Almost hitting or sideswiping parked cars or stationary objects
- Driving slowly or erratically
- Speeding up and slowing down without reason
- Stopping in the middle of the road without cause
This is not a complete list of the various things that could give an officer reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. Law enforcement has the right to stop a driver for any type of behavior they may interpret as dangerous or indicative of the commission of a crime. It is your right to challenge the circumstances of a traffic stop that led to your arrest and charges.
Start defending yourself now
OUI charges can have a negative long-term impact on your life. In addition to the criminal penalties you may face, an OUI can impact your job, your ability to secure future employment, educational opportunities and even a child custody proceeding. There are a lot of things at stake, even if this is a first-time offense.
Your defense planning can start as soon as possible after an arrest. Working with an experienced defense attorney can prove beneficial as you evaluate the circumstances of your traffic stop and determine if there are grounds for challenging the prosecution’s case against you.