If this is your first time being charged with Operating Under the Influence, or OUI, you may be feeling incredibly stressed and uncertain of what’s to come. There are also some things you should know about the nature of the allegations against you.
First and foremost, even in the case of a first offense, OUI is deemed a criminal offense. The crime itself is defined as a person operating a motor vehicle (which can include a boat or other vehicle, not only a car), while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Keep in mind also that “operating a vehicle” does not necessarily mean driving on the street. Depending upon the circumstances, even sitting within a car to sober up could be considered operating a vehicle, depending upon the officer’s impression of your behavior, and also the surrounding factual circumstances. In other words, it doesn’t take erratic driving or a dramatic car crash to potentially implicate these charges.
The state of Massachusetts felt that current law was not harsh enough on drivers found guilty of OUI, so in 2005 it passed Melanie’s Law, increasing the penalties for OUI cases. Due to the state’s stance on these types of cases, it is of the utmost importance that you hire a Massachusetts defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about the nature of the charges, and also experienced in representing individuals charged with OUI offenses.
For example, an experienced Massachusetts OUI defense attorney may successfully be able to reduce the potential sentence you are facing as a first time offender from a maximum of two and a half years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a five year license suspension, to a state-approved alcohol education program. This reduction is not possible after the first offense, and it is not a default reduction. That means the court will not automatically grant it; your attorney will have to secure it for you.
If you are successful in converting your OUI charges to an alcohol education program, which is commonly referred to as “24D” or First Offender Driver Alcohol Education Program, a typical course will consist of 40 hours to be completed over a 16 week period, and costs roughly $600. However, the specific program must be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
By successfully completing this program it will serve to supersede breathalyzer test results, which may make you eligible to apply to the RMV for consideration of a hardship license.
OUI/DUI/DWI charges are a serious matter and carry an accompanying serious penalty. Only an attorney specializing in OUI offenses will have the requisite knowledge and legal dexterity to fight the charges against you. Massachusetts defense attorney Patrick J. Murphy has extensive experience in handling Massachusetts OUI cases, and will battle zealously for your freedom. If you or someone you know is facing OUI charges, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today for a free and confidential legal consultation. You can reach us by calling 617-367-0450 or completing the contacts tab on our website.
More Blog Posts:
Melanie’s Law Impacts Massachusetts OUI Cases, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published June 28, 2013
Massachusetts State Police Search New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez’s House a Second Time, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published June 25, 2013