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26 West Main Street
Dudley, MA 01571
Phone: 508-461-6241
Fax: 508-461-6243
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OUI FAQ

 

  1. What penalties am I facing? What’s the worst that can happen if I’m convicted? What is Melanie’s law?
  2. I’ve just been arrested for OUI. What happens next?
  3. How long does it take to resolve a case?
  4. Why should I hire an attorney? Why don’t I just represent myself?
  5. If I hire a lawyer will I get a guaranteed result? Do you guarantee a result?
  6. All I want to do is plead this out, get this over with, and start driving again. I don’t want to go through months of litigation and then a trial. Do I really need an attorney?
  7. What will an attorney cost me? What do you charge for a typical OUI?
  8. What is a hardship license?
  9. How soon can I get my license back? I heard I can automatically get a hardship license. My friend had an OUI charge and he got a hardship license right away.
  10. What happens if I refuse to take or fail a breath test? Will I lose my license?
  11. That sounds harsh. Should I refuse a breath test?
  12. Should I refuse to do field sobriety tests?
  13. I lost my license for failing or refusing a breath test. Can I get a hardship license now, before my case resolves?
  14. Speaking of police reports, the report in my case makes everything sound hopeless, and much of it isn’t even accurate. Should I really fight this?
  15. But I still feel hopeless. What kinds of defenses exist in OUI cases?
  16. My last OUI was 20 years ago. Does it count against me?
  17. What is a cwof? My previous OUI had a cwof, does it count?

 

1. What penalties am I facing? What’s the worst that can happen if I’m convicted? What is Melanie’s law?

Melanie’s Law, which added new, more severe penalties and administrative sanctions to Massachusetts’s existing OUI law, went into effect on October 28, 2005. Massachusetts now has one of the harshest OUI laws in the United States, which you can read for yourself at M.G.L. ch. 90 § 24. If you are convicted of OUI in Massachusetts, here’s what you are facing:

First Offense

  • Up to 2 ½ years in jail
  • $500 – $5,000 fine
  • $250 assessment:  Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund (this assessment may not be waived or reduced by the court for any reason)
  • $50 assessment: for the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund (this assessment may not be waived by the court for any reason)
  • $50 victim witness fee
  • 1 year license suspension (may be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 3 months and a general hardship license in 6 months)
  • Fee to reinstate license: $500 (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)

Alternative First Offense Disposition

This disposition is only available to first-time offenders and to individuals with one previous OUI conviction or assignment to an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment, or rehabilitation program as a result of a single like offense that is more than 10 years old.

  • Up to 2 years probation (you will be required to pay a $65/month probation fee while on probation; $50/month if probation is unsupervised)
  • Driver Alcohol Education (DAE) program- This is a 16 week, 40 hour program that you must pay for. Cost: $707.76
  • If the court deems it necessary, assignment to an alcohol or controlled substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation program or both. Individuals aged 17-21 will be assigned to a “14 day second offender in-home program” if blood alcohol percentage is over .20. This program is at the individual’s expense, and is in addition to any other sentence received.
  • 45 – 90 days license suspension (210 day license suspension if driver is under 21) (eligible for a hardship license within 3 days entry into the DAE program)
  • $250 assessmen for the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund (this assessment may not be waived or reduced by the court for any reason)
  • $250 assessment for apprehension, treatment and rehabilitation programs
  • $50 assessment for the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund (this assessment may not be waived by the court for any reason)
  • $50 victim witness fee
  • If previous offense is more than 10 years old, the RMV will require you to have an Ignition Interlock device on your car at your own expense for 2 years after your license is reinstated (any time you use an Ignition Interlock device with a hardship license doesn’t count) Installation costs $125 (sometimes more) and maintenance fees cost around $85/month. As of 2/1/10 the RMV also imposes a $30 per month Ignition Interlock Program administration fee.
  • Fee to reinstate license: $500 if first offense (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)
  • $700 if previous offense is more than 10 years old

Second Offense

  • Not less than 60 days in jail (mandatory 30 days to serve); maximum 2 /12 years in jail
  • $600 – $10,000 fine
  • 2 year license suspension, (may be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 1 year and a general hardship license in 18 months)
  • Ignition Interlock device installed in your car at your own expense before license can be reinstated; must keep Ignition Interlock in car for 2 years. Installation costs $125 (sometimes more) and maintenance fees cost around $85/month. As of 2/1/10 the RMV also imposes a $30 per month Ignition Interlock Program administration fee.
  • Fee to reinstate license: $700 (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)

Alternative Disposition (available to second time offenders)

If your first offense was more than ten years old you are eligible to ask for the first offender alternative disposition discussed above. If your first offense was less than ten years old you are eligible to ask for:

  • Up to 2 years probation
  • $250 fee (Head Injury Assessment)
  • $50 assessment: for the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund (this assessment may not be waived by the court for any reason)
  • 14 day alcohol treatment inpatient hospital program at your expense ($1,050) and participation in outpatient counseling program
  • 2 year license suspension (may be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 1 year and a general hardship license in 18 months)
  • Ignition Interlock installed in your car at your own expense before license can be reinstated; must keep Ignition Interlock in car for 2 years. Installation costs $125 (sometimes more) and maintenance fees cost around $85/month. As of 2/1/10 the RMV also imposes a $30 per month Ignition Interlock Program administration fee.
  • Fee to reinstate license: $700 (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)

Third Offense (felony)

  • Not less than 6 months in jail (mandatory 150 days to serve); maximum 2 ½ years in jail or 5 years in state prison (time may be served in a correctional facility specifically designated by the department of correction for the incarceration and rehabilitation of drinking drivers, resources permitting)
  • $1000 – $15,000 fine
  • 8 year license suspension (may be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 2 years and a general hardship license in 4 years)
  • Commonwealth may seize and sell your car
  • Fee to reinstate license: $1200 (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)

Fourth Offense (felony)

  • Not less than 2 years in jail (mandatory 1 year to serve); maximum 5 years in state prison
  • $1,500 to $25,000 fine
  • 10 year license suspension (may be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 5 years and a general hardship license in 8 years)
  • Commonwealth may seize and sell your car
  • Fee to reinstate license: $1200 (note: the RMV is now imposing an additional $500 reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test)

Fifth Offense (felony)

  • Not less than 2 ½ years in jail (mandatory 24 months to serve); maximum 5 years in state prison
  • $2,000 to $50,000 fine
  • Lifetime license suspension (no eligibility for hardship license, ever)

Furthermore:

If you are convicted of OUI with a child 14 years or younger in vehicle:

a) First offense – license suspended 1 year

b) Second offense – license suspended 3 years

These suspension periods begin after all previous OUI suspensions have ended.

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2. I’ve just been arrested for OUI. What happens next?

At the police station

First, if you’ve just been arrested for OUI, chances are that your license is now suspended because you either failed or refused the breath test. For suspension periods click here.

If you can’t get a licensed driver to come to the police station and drive your car home, the police may impound your car.

You have the right to make a phone call to a lawyer or to your family or friends to arrange to bail you out of the police station. You also have the right to go to a medical facility and have a blood test taken to independently determine your blood alcohol level (BAC), but the police are not required to bring you to a facility. If you believe that an independent blood test will show that your BAC is under .08, it is worth telling the police that you want this test, and that you wish to call somebody to bail you out and take you to get this test.

You will have an opportunity to bail yourself out of the police station. Bail can run from $40 to a few hundred dollars. If you cannot bail yourself out, the police will keep you in custody and transport you directly to court for your arraignment as soon as the nearest court is in session. If you can bail yourself out, the police will release you and tell you when and where to appear in court for your arraignment.

If your license is suspended do not drive to court or anywhere else, or you risk further penalties, including jail. If you fail to appear in court for your arraignment a warrant will issue for your arrest, and you risk being held in jail without bail until your case is resolved.

Arraignment

Arraignments can be intimidating, particularly if you don’t have any experience with the court system. Do not discuss your case with anyone in the courthouse, and do not make statements regarding your case when you are before the judge. Anything you say in court is recorded, and can be used against you later. Anyone you speak to in the hallways can be brought into court later and questioned about what you said. The best you can do is say nothing. The court will read the charges against you, enter a not guilty plea on your behalf, and ask if you intend to hire a lawyer. You are entitled to be evaluated as to whether you qualify for a court-appointed attorney. If you do not qualify, you will be given time to hire a lawyer and a date to come back (your pretrial date, see below). In some situations, if the Commonwealth believes that you are a flight risk or a danger to the public, there will be a bail hearing to determine whether you will be released or held in jail. It is often the case that people cannot get an attorney for their arraignments as notice is so short. However, if there is a bail hearing the court will provide an attorney to represent you for that hearing, whether or not you qualify for a court appointed lawyer. If you don’t qualify you will be on your own after the bail hearing to hire your own attorney. You also have the option of representing yourself.

If you are considering representing yourself, please read this first.

Pretrial

Your first return date after your arraignment is your pretrial conference date. This is usually around 45 days after your arraignment, but if you are held in jail you are entitled to return within 30 days. At this date your attorney submits a written request to the district attorney to produce all the evidence the Commonwealth intends to use against you. The Commonwealth typically has until the next date (compliance) to produce evidence. Your attorney may also file motions and request court orders for the production of specific evidence at this time. From the defendant’s perspective nothing much appears to happen on the pretrial date. You need to be there, but you are not required to say anything. You will be given a date to come back (compliance date).

Compliance

This is the date at which requested evidence is produced. This is usually around 45 days after your pretrial, but if you are held you are entitled to return within 30 days. If there is a lot of evidence your attorney needs time to go over with you (such as a booking video) he or she will ask for an election date. It is not uncommon to have to return for more than one compliance date if all the evidence isn’t available at the first date.

Motion Hearing

This is usually around 45 days after your final compliance date but if you are held you are entitled to return within 30 days.

Depending on the facts of your particular case, there may be grounds to suppress your statements, the field sobriety tests, the breathalyzer results, or even the stop itself. If enough evidence can get thrown out at the motion date it may be possible, depending on the facts of your case, to get a dismissal. Sometimes the case won’t get dismissed, but the Commonwealth will end up having to go forward with less evidence, making it more difficult for them to prove.

Election date:

At this date you make a decision, with your attorney’s advice, based on all the evidence, whether to go to trial.  If you elect to go to trial, your trial is set for the next date. Sometimes the election date is the same as the final compliance date.

Trial

You have a right to a jury trial. In district court, a jury consists of 6 people. In superior court it consists of 12. You may also choose to waive your right to be tried in front of a jury and choose to have a trial in which a judge decides whether you violated the law. I will advise you, based on the facts of your individual case, which kind of trial to choose. Sentencing almost always happens immediately after trial.

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3. How long does it take to resolve a case?

From arraignment to jury trial it can take between 6 months to a year in district court. If you choose to plea, your case could resolve in as little as two months. But pleading just to get things over with might not be in your long term interest.

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4. Why should I hire an attorney? Why don’t I just represent myself?

You have an absolute right to represent yourself in any legal matter, including criminal and OUI matters. However, the court is not going to cut you a break or bend the rules of evidence and procedure just because you choose to represent yourself.

Criminal procedure is complex, and attorneys go through several years of graduate school and courtroom experience to learn it. If you fail to raise defenses at particular times you will lose those defenses. If you don’t follow proper procedure for introducing evidence you won’t be able to use that evidence. OUI is considered by many attorneys to be one of the most complicated areas of criminal law. Convictions carry severe penalties and lifetime consequences.

Without training and experience in criminal procedure, in how to analyze a police report for potential defenses, in how to obtain and use evidence in court, in what evidence to ask for, in how to obtain and read breathalyzer maintenance and calibration records, in how to obtain and analyze a police officer’s field sobriety training manual, in what evidence you are entitled to have suppressed and in how to write and argue a motion to get that evidence suppressed, in how to cross examine witnesses, in how to make effective sentencing arguments, and without knowledge of license suspension issues, or even of what to ask for should you decide to negotiate a plea agreement with the Commonwealth, you are likely to be severely disadvantaged if you represent yourself.

However, hiring a lawyer does not guarantee a particular result. See next question.

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5. If I hire a lawyer will I get a guaranteed result? Do you guarantee a result?

No ethical attorney can guarantee you a result. I can tell you that I get positive results for most of my clients most of the time, whether by plea or trial. I can’t, however, guarantee any particular result in your particular case. Every case is different, and seemingly insignificant facts can result in huge differences between cases. If you opt to meet with me for a free initial consultation I will go over the facts of your case with you and advise you as to your options and the likely outcome of each option.

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6. All I want to do is plead this out, get this over with, and start driving again. I don’t want to go through months of litigation and then a trial. Do I really need an attorney?

Again, the choice is yours. Given the lifetime and financial consequences that attach to an OUI conviction, sometimes the worst decision you can make is pleading out a case early just to “get it over with.” For one thing, you won’t actually “get it over with” because you’ll still be facing lengthy probation periods with fines, strict conditions, license restrictions or suspensions, and in some cases, jail. Every case is different. An attorney can look at the facts and issues particular to your case, and advise you as to whether you have defenses, could get evidence thrown out, and whether to take your case to trial. Sometimes, however, given the facts, the best decision you can make is to plea. In that case an experienced attorney who knows what to ask for can negotiate the best disposition to which you are entitled.

An attorney can also explain to you the consequences of any plea you enter into, which can include future problems obtaining some kinds of employment, immigration issues, firearms license issues, and other concerns. If you choose to represent yourself, do not expect the assistant district attorney to explain to you the consequences of any deal you enter into, or to look out for your interests. That simply isn’t their job.

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7. What will an attorney cost me? What do you charge for a typical OUI?

Considering the OUI penalties prescribed by Massachusetts law, and the potential lifetime consequences of a conviction, perhaps it is better to ask what not hiring an attorney to protect your interests and fight for the best possible outcome in your case will cost you.

I understand that attorney fees are an unexpected expense, and that many people think they can’t afford a lawyer. I keep my overhead low and can therefore afford to keep my rates competitive.

My fee for any particular matter varies with the matter’s complexity and the time-investment necessary to defend that particular case. Some cases that might seem simple have hidden complexities, and some cases that seem hopeless may actually be fairly straightforward. I cannot responsibly quote a fee until I meet with you to discuss your particular circumstances.

If you choose to have a free initial consultation with me, I will go over your matter in detail, and I will tell you upfront what my fee is for your case. No surprises, no extra hidden costs, and no obligation. My usual practice is to ask for an upfront flat fee before beginning work on any matter. I will provide you with a detailed fee agreement so there are no surprises later.

If, after meeting with me, you think you can do better elsewhere, you are free to keep looking for another attorney.

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8. What is a hardship license?

Also known as a Cinderella license. A license with limited driving privileges that allows you to drive during a certain number of restricted hours so you can continue to earn a living. A work/education hardship license lets you drive to work/school only. A general hardship lets you drive during a 12 hour period every day.

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9. How soon can I get my license back? I heard I can automatically get a hardship license. My friend had an OUI charge and he got a hardship right away.

First, no hardship license is granted “automatically.” Hardship licenses are only available after you resolve your case, and only at the discretion of the RMV. For first offenders, hardship licenses are available three days after entry into the Driver Alcohol Education (DAE) program. You will need to provide proof that you’ve entered the DAE program. For 2d offenders, you need proof of completion of the 14 day inpatient program. Anyone seeking a hardship license must also provide a letter from their employer, including work hours, and proof regarding lack of public transportation to and from work. Here are the RMV’s hardship license criteria. Also, you must pay a hefty reinstatement fee for obtaining a hardship license, and again when you get your full license reinstated. Reinstatement fees are listed in FAQ 1.

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10. What happens if I refuse to take or fail a breath test? Will I lose my license?

Yes.

License suspension for failures:

If you are 21 or over and register .08 or more on a breath test, or over 18 and under 21 and register a .02 or greater, your license will be suspended for 30 days.

Furthermore, if you are between 18 and 21 and blow .02 or over, you license will be suspended an additional 180 days (total 210) days. If this is your first offense you may apply for a waiver of this additional 180 day suspension by entering, at your own expense, a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) sponsored by the Department of Public Health. You can call 508-984-0623 for the nearest YAP locations. There is a license reinstatement fee. Even if you get your case dismissed or are found not guilty before your suspension runs out, your license will remain suspended, as the purpose of this law, MGL ch. 90 § 24P , is to encourage younger drivers to enter a YAP.

If you are under 18 you will be given a one year suspension in addition to the 30 days and required to enter a YAP.

License suspension for refusals

If you are over 21 and you refuse to take the breath test:

No prior OUIs – suspension for 180 days

One prior OUI – suspension for 3 years

Two prior OUIs – suspension for 5 years

Three or more prior OUIs – suspension for life

If you are under 21 and you refuse to take the breath test:

No prior OUIs – suspension for 3 years

One prior OUI – suspension for 3 years

Two prior OUIs – suspension for 5 years

Three or more prior OUIs – suspension for life

Furthermore, if you refuse the breath test at any age and have any prior OUIs involving:

a) Serious bodily injury – your license will be suspended for 10 years

b) Vehicular homicide – your license will be suspended for life

If your case is dismissed or you are found not guilty before your license suspension ends, and you are over 21, there is a rebuttable presumption that your license may be restored. Your license will not be restored automatically, however. Your attorney will need to make a written motion before the court asking the judge to order the RMV to restore your license, and the Commonwealth can argue against restoration if it feels that restoring your license would endanger public safety.

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11. That sounds harsh. Should I refuse a breath test?

The purpose of the breath test is to produce evidence against you. Obviously, if you knew you would blow under a .08 (under a .02 if you are under 21) it would be in your interest to take the breath test. However, most people are extremely poor judges of their BAC, and one’s BAC can be dependent on all kinds of factors including body size, food consumption, etc. Furthermore, breathalyzers are sometimes inaccurate. If you refuse to take a breath test the fact that you refused cannot be brought up at trial.

Strictly from the standpoint of being in the best position to fight your charge later, it is advisable to refuse the breath test. But if you refuse the test, please be aware that your license will be suspended for a period of time. See FAQ 10. Also note that the RMV is now imposing a $500 license reinstatement fee for failing or refusing the breath test. This fee is in addition to the reinstatement fee assessed for getting an OUI conviction. See FAQ 1.

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12. Should I refuse to do field sobriety tests?

There is no penalty for refusing to perform a field sobriety test, and your refusal cannot be brought up at trial. Police often administer and interpret these tests incorrectly, resulting in inaccurate assessments of your intoxication level which can be brought up at trial.

Strictly from the standpoint of being in the best position to fight your charge later, it is also advisable to refuse to take the field sobriety tests.

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13. I lost my license for failing or refusing a breath test. Can I get a hardship license now, before my case resolves?

No. You cannot get a hardship license if you lose your license for failing or refusing a breath test. You may only get a hardship license after you resolve your case.

You have 10 days starting immediately after your license suspension for failing a breath test to appeal to the court in which your charges are pending. If you are under 21 and have no pending charges but lost your license because you blew over a .02, you may appeal to the district court having jurisdiction over the area where you were arrested. The district court may only consider whether you took a blood test, and whether such blood test indicated that your BAC was under .08 if you are over 21 or under .02 if you are under 21. No other reason is sufficient for getting your license restored.

You have 15 days starting immediately after your license suspension for refusing a breath test to appeal at the RMV at 630 Washington Street in Boston, and you can then appeal the RMV’s decision in court. These appeals rarely succeed. The fact that you really need to drive to work or school or medical appointments is not enough of a reason for the RMV to restore your license after a refusal. They don’t care. Under MGL ch. 90 § 24(1)(g), the RMV may only consider the following three issues:

a) whether the police had reasonable grounds to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol on a public way

Note – the RMV is not going to try your case. They don’t care whether the Commonwealth can ultimately prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while impaired (the standard at trial). They only need to be convinced that the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to “believe” you were intoxicated. This is such a low standard that the RMV almost always finds that there were reasonable grounds. Here’s why. The arresting officer is required by law to submit a report to the RMV within 24 hours of arrest setting forth the grounds for the officer’s belief that the person arrested had been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol on a public way. The RMV is required by statute MGL ch. 90 § 24(1)(f)(iii), to take whatever the officer says in this report as prima facie evidence. What this means, in English, is that the RMV must accept whatever the report says as fact unless you can produce evidence to disprove it. Forget what you learned in school about “innocent until proven guilty.” Can you prove your eyes weren’t bloodshot, that you didn’t smell like alcohol, that you didn’t weave? Didn’t think so.

In a trial you don’t have to prove anything. You can make the Commonwealth prove all of its allegations. In fact, in a trial, a police report is not considered evidence and cannot come in as evidence, but in an RMV hearing the police don’t have to prove anything. Whatever they put on their report setting grounds for your arrest is accepted as truth, and the burden is on you to offer hard evidence that it isn’t. By statute. I know, it’s not fair, but it’s reality.

b) whether you were arrested (again, this is easy to prove)

c) whether you really did refuse the breath test

Note: under Commonwealth v. Curley, 78 Mass.App.Ct. 163 (2010) if you agreed to take the test and then somehow were unable to provide a breath sample due to physical problems like emphysema, the RMV will consider that a refusal.

Furthermore, a record of this hearing will be preserved and anything you say can be used against you later.

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14. Speaking of police reports, the report in my case makes everything sound hopeless, and much of it isn’t even accurate. Should I really fight this?

I understand. Everybody sounds guilty in a police report, even people who are totally innocent. Of course it’s disturbing to read what the arresting officer wrote about you, particularly if your recollection of events is totally different. I have a lot of experience reading and analyzing police reports, and I can tell you that I have won cases that initially appeared “hopeless.” I will go over the police report with you, and I will tell you if I think there are ways to refute the officer’s allegations or to raise doubt at trial or if the report is actually as damning as you think it is. I will also tell you if I think your case is truly hopeless. Before you give up, please call me at 508-461-6241 for a free consultation.

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15. But I still feel hopeless. What kinds of defenses exist in OUI cases?

In any criminal matter, including OUIs, the burden of proof is on the Commonwealth. This means the Commonwealth must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were

a) operating a motor vehicle

b) on a public way

c) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor (or drugs)

Sometimes, the Commonwealth simply doesn’t have enough evidence to prove all of these factors. I have won cases in which the Commonwealth could not prove that the defendant was driving, or prove that the defendant was driving on a public way. However, in most OUI cases those elements are not in dispute, and the case hinges on whether the Commonwealth can prove that you were under the influence of alcohol.

This list is not exhaustive as the facts of each case are different. But here are some of the defenses that can be raised in these cases:

a) Was the initial stop legal? Did the officer have a legitimate reason to stop, detain, question, and arrest you? (if not, evidence can be suppressed)

b) Were Miranda warnings given at the right time or given at all? Were you given an Implied Consent Notice?

c) Were you denied your right to make a phone call? To obtain a blood test?

d) Were the field sobriety tests properly administered and interpreted?

e) Do the calibration and maintenance records indicate problems with the breathalyzer? Was the breath test properly administered? Is there reason to doubt the accuracy of the results? (there are many problems with breathalyzers that result in inaccurate readings)

f) Are there witnesses who can offer testimony that is helpful to your case?

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16. My last OUI was 20 years ago. Does it count against me?

Yes. Massachusetts has a lifetime lookback on OUIs. Massachusetts also counts your out of state OUIs, if you have any.

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17. What is a cwof? I’ve heard you can just get a cwof and move on. My previous OUI got a cwof, does it count against me?

CWOF stands for “continued without a finding.” First-time OUI offenders and people with no previous criminal record are entitled to ask that their case be continued without a finding. However, as with any plea, you won’t simply be able to “move on” as you will still have to deal with a lengthy probationary period and other long-term consequences. That being said, sometimes a cwof is the best option, depending on the specific facts of your case.

How it works: You must go before a judge and admit in open court, on the record, that the police report is true and that you did indeed violate the law. If the judge agrees to continue your case without a finding, you are placed on probation (see first offender alternative disposition). If you comply with all probation conditions your matter gets dismissed at the end of probation.  If you fail to comply, your cwof turns into a conviction on your record, and the court could impose the first offender disposition that carries jail time.

The RMV and the courts will treat an OUI that receives a cwof as a conviction. This means that if your first OUI is given a cwof and eventually dismissed, and you get charged with another OUI several years later, it will be considered a second OUI.   The advantage of a cwof is that, despite the RMV and the courts, it technically isn’t a conviction.  So if an employer asks if you’ve ever  been convicted of a crime, you can truthfully say no.

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