Plymouth Rock Legal

Operating Under The Influence


When you have been arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol (OUI, DWI, DUI) in Massachusetts you need a tested, experienced trial attorney to assess your case. The laws regarding OUI cases continue to evolve in Massachusetts and it is important to consult with someone who is on top of the law. Recent changes in Massachusetts under "Melanie's Law" have strengthened penalties for offenders and navigating your way through the system is complex.

Operating Under The Influence Penalties

Generally, when you are charged with Operating Under the Influence of alcohol you will be arraigned on the next business day when the court is open. The arraignment is a formal reading of the charges against you and an opportunity for the prosecutor to address bail. Usually a copy of the police report(s) is available to you and your attorney on the arraignment date.

The police report is a summary of the event made by police officers to document the incident that led to you being charged. It will undoubtedly include reference to operation of the motor vehicle, physical observations such as red and glassy eyes, odor of alcohol, slurred speech etc. Additionally, if there were field sobriety tests (FST's) given the officer will document what tests were given and his impression of how you did on them. Common FST's include, but are not limited to, recitation of the alphabet, one-legged stand, and the nine step heel to toe test. It is important to remember that these tests are subjective in nature. In other words, it is one person's assessment of another that makes up a large part of the evidence of field sobriety tests.

If you have taken a breathylyzer test the results of that will be included in the police report as well. In Massachusetts a result of .08 or over is a per se violation that the operator over 21 years old is under the influence. The laws are different for underage operators with regard to the breath test. You should consult with an attorney who is well acquainted with all aspects of license loss due to breath tests failures and refusals.

After the arraignment, the case will proceed to a pre-trial conference, if necessary a motion date and then to a trial or disposition date. At a pre-trial conference, the prosecutor and defense attorney exchange information and documents that they intend to use at a trial. Such discovery items include witness lists, photographs, breathylyzer records and other items each side thinks is important to establish their version of the case. Keep in mind that the burden of proof is always on the government to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt in any criminal case.

There are several types of motions that could be filed in your case. Examples are motions to dismiss the case and motions to suppress certain evidence. As each case is factually different, so are the bases for filing and succeeding on motions. In appropriate cases, evidence such as breath test results, blood tests, incriminating statements and others have all been successfully suppressed by Attorney Christopher F. Murray in cases throughout the state.

A successful motion can seriously weaken the government's case and increase the chances of a successful defense verdict at trial.

Only an experienced and successful trial attorney is going to be able to validly assess your case and determine if it should be taken to a trial or a plea. In Massachusetts, a defendant is entitled to a trial by jury or a judge. There are numerous reasons to take into consideration before you choose what avenue is best for you. Take a look at our OUI penalties page to see the different punishments that are available to the court. Don't be fooled by the two types of lawyers: there are ones who think every case should be taken to trial and ones who think that every case should be a plea. The reality is that each case is different and there are strengths and weaknesses to every situation.

Attorney Christopher F. Murray has handled thousands of Drunk Driving/ Operating Under the Influence OUI/ DWI cases as a former prosecutor and as a successful defense attorney. His experience allows him to assess all of the angles in a case in order to give you the superior advocacy that you deserve. Before you make any decisions regarding your own case call our office for an informed, honest and FREE consultation.

Call or email Attorney Christopher F. Murray today at 508-746-4144 and for your FREE case consultation.