BOSTON DUI LAWYER: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOU’VE BEEN PULLED OVER FOR A DUI
Being arrested for drunk driving can be one of the most terrifying and nerve wracking experiences of an individual’s life. In Massachusetts, drunk-driving charges will follow you for the rest of your life.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUI CHARGES IN MASSACHUSETTS
In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to drive if your blood alcohol content is above .08%. OUI charges are one of the most aggressively enforced crimes in the state, and are prosecuted as such. However, being pulled over for an OUI isn’t the end of the world. Despite the aggressive patrols, Massachusetts’s juries acquit more than 50% of all OUI cases they see. With proper representation by a qualified Boston criminal defense attorney, you too can avoid conviction.
MASSACHUSETTS OUI CHARGES: WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER ARREST
OUI criminal proceedings occur in five or more stages: arraignment, a bail hearing, pre-trial conference, a motion hearing, trial, and sentencing. Important note: if you’re arrested for an OUI you should hire an attorney IMMEDIATELY. Do NOT wait until arraignment!
- Arraignment: Your first necessary court appearance will be at your arraignment. This is where the judge will read the charges presented against you, and you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you have no prior criminal history, you will most likely be released on your own recognizance. If you have a criminal history, the prosecution may request you pay bail to ensure you are present for the remainder of your criminal proceedings. If this is the case, you’ll be required to attend a bail hearing. If you haven’t hired a Boston criminal defense attorney at this point, the state will assign a public defender to your case for the purpose of helping you through the bail hearing.
- Pre-Trial Conference: The pre-trial conference is the next court appearance that will take place after your arraignment. This is a chance for you and your drunk-driving lawyer to meet with the prosecution and discuss the case at great detail. By this time in the process, both sides will have had a chance to review all police reports and evidence available, as well as determine if any outside information is available and pertinent to the case. Your lawyer, as well as the prosecution, will have also determined by this time whether or not they believe a trial is necessary for your specific case. It is possible that they will determine it’s possible to resolve the case before trial by means of a disposition. Under Massachusetts Criminal Court Procedures, defendants have the right to plea to the charges or tender an admission and request a disposition. If the court and prosecution accept this admission, the case can be resolved along the terms proposed by the defense. However, if the court does not wish to accept the terms, the prosecution can present counter terms (which most likely will include a greater penalty), and the defendant then has the option of either accepting these counter terms or rejecting the disposition completely and taking the case to trial. If both sides do not reach an agreement and carry out a disposition, the next step is a motion trial hearing.
- Motion Hearing: If no disposition is reached, a motion trial hearing will be scheduled. In criminal cases, there can often be many different pre-trial motions that are each filed and argued individually. For example, motions to suppress evidence that is incriminating to you but was retrieved in a questionable manner are very common. In some instances, your criminal defense lawyer could also file a motion to dismiss based on technical violations by the prosecution, which would lead to the dismissal of all charges against you completely.
- Trial: If no disposition is reached and your case isn’t dismissed, your case will go to trial. More than likely, your OUI trial will take place in the same courthouse where the pre-trial was conducted. Pending which district court your trial takes place in, you will have the right to a trial before a judge or a jury consisting of six people. In many cases, the decision as to whether the trial will be in front of a judge or a jury isn’t made until the day of the trial. At the trial, both sides will present evidence in order to convince the judge or jury of your guilt or innocence.
- Sentencing: If your case has gone to trial and the verdict comes back against you, sentencing will more than likely immediately follow the trial. After the jury returns with their guilty finding, they will be excused from the courtroom and the judge will proceed with sentencing. Both sides, your criminal defense attorney included, will have the chance to make their recommendations to the judge as to what your sentence should be. After the judge has heard recommendations from both sides, he will announce your sentence.
Again, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest! The sooner you have a criminal defense lawyer, the better chance you have at avoiding conviction.