If you live in Boston and face Operating Under the Influence charges, you are not alone. The Boston Herald reports that Boston holds the dubious honor of being the number two city in the nation for drunk driving convictions.
Not surprisingly, law enforcement officers constantly remain vigilant for drivers whose driving patterns indicate that they are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Given that, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, someone becomes injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes in the United States and someone dies in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes, such vigilance unfortunately remains necessary.
Despite decades of warnings, Public Service Announcements, Mothers Against Drunk Driving campaigns and ever stiffer OUI/DWI/DUI penalties, many people still choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or get into a car with a driver they know is drunk. Do you? Why?
If officers pull you over for suspected OUI, they likely will ask you to take a field sobriety test. You may wish to refuse, however. Why? Because this test, which actually consists of three separate tests, does not always produce accurate results.
It used to be the case that if you wanted to travel in Boston, and you didn't want to ride the bus or hail a cab, the popular option was to simply drive to your destination yourself. However, when your destination was a bar or party, this led to incidents of drunk driving and the possibility of incurring an OUI.
Recreational cannabis has been legal in Massachusetts for several years, and, with new dispensaries opening up soon, it seems to be more commonplace. What once was an illegal, clandestine activity is now done out in the open. However, it's important to remember that the law still prohibits operating a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis or other drugs.
A recent news report about a Massachusetts arrest helps illustrate an important point about OUI law enforcement and prosecution.
People who are accused of drunk driving often take a fatalistic approach to the charges they face. Perhaps they feel the evidence against them is overwhelming, and so there is no point in trying. This is a mistake. Everyone deserves a defense.
Next month will mark the first anniversary of legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, and the commonwealth is still adjusting to the changes the new law brought. One area where the authorities are still trying to figure out how to work with the new law is in its approach to marijuana-impaired driving.
When you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, police officers have a variety of ways to gather evidence that you are too intoxicated to driver. They may have you go through a field sobriety test, asking you to walk a straight line and performing other simple tasks. If you fail, they will take notes and the prosecution will use those notes as evidence against you. The police will probably take note if they smell alcohol on your breath or appear to be slurring your speech, as well. But perhaps the most important evidence they will collect is the results of a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, test.