If you’ve been arrested for OUI, I understand exactly what you are going through, and I can help you.Criminal Charge in Massachusetts? Call Attorney Russell Matson at (781) 817-6332.
Most of my 20-year criminal defense legal practice has been spent protecting and defending the rights of people accused of drunk driving. If you just got arrested and have an arraignment coming up tomorrow or even this morning, don’t hesitate to call or text me now for help.
It’s a complicated area of law, and I know you have a lot of questions and concerns. So please call me to get my recommendations on the best way to either beat your case or work to get you a deal for the absolute minimum penalties allowed by law.
We can either:
- Fight the charges in court, and challenge the evidence the Commonwealth claims to have against you, or;
- Work out a deal to quickly and painlessly resolve your case with the minimum penalties and the smallest disruption to your life as possible.
I do plenty of both, and the best choice really depends on your particular situation. I can recommend a course of action as part of a free legal consultation.
I Can Help You Fix A DUI Charge
Being charged with OUI for the first time can be an extremely stressful and intimidating experience. But with an experienced, local Massachusetts DUI attorney advising you of your rights, fighting on your behalf, you can take some comfort that you are giving yourself the best possible chance to fix this. And often, the penalties aren’t nearly as bad as you might fear.
I have been doing these cases for a long time, and I can help you get through this. I am a recognized authority on drunk driving laws here in Mass and am a longstanding member of the National College of DUI Defense, a group of the foremost experts in DUI law.
Whatever happened that led to you being pulled over and eventually arrested, it’s a problem that you now have to deal with. But you don’t have to do it alone.
What is an OUI?
In Massachusetts, the legal term for a drunk driving charge is an OUI or Operating Under the Influence. In common practice, “OUI”, “DUI”, and “DWI” are often used interchangeably. They all refer to being caught behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And, no matter what you call it, they all carry fairly harsh potential penalties.
You can be charged with OUI if your blood alcohol content is over .08% (if you took a breath test), or if your driving behavior and other indications show you to be impaired. Other evidence of impairment always consists of witness testimony from the police officer who arrested you.
Massachusetts OUI Penalties – First Offense
What is the maximum penalty for an OUI conviction? It doesn’t matter.
In fact, when people call us and speak to my Office Manager Mary Ellen and ask what the maximum penalties are for a DUI charge, she won’t even tell them, because it is the wrong question. It isn’t going to happen and doesn’t matter.
But just because this is the internet, and every other lawyer lists these, I will tell you that the maximum penalties are:
- Up to 2 ½ years in prison
- Up to $5,000 in fines.
- Your license can also be suspended for up to 1 year.
Don’t worry, though, really. These maximum penalties almost never come into play, so I don’t want you to even think about it.
But the penalties you will realistically face are still considerable, including license loss and fees and fines that can total $2500.
And if you have more serious additional charges, like OUI with child endangerment if you are arrested for an OUI with a child under 14 years old in the car, we’d have more to talk about and work through.
If you also charged with the crime of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, you don’t have to worry about that too much. It’s fairly minor, and we can often make that go away at the same time with no additional penalty.
In any case, your options at this point are to try to fight the OUI charges, and beat the case, or work out a deal.
Can I Win My OUI Case?
Fighting the charges is a good option in many cases (especially on a second or greater offense).
When I fight cases in court, I beat the charges 2/3’s of the time.
Yes, that’s right. Now, it doesn’t always make sense to take every single case to trial. It requires a thorough case evaluation and an informed decision about what you are up against. But I can tell you from many years of experience that OUI cases in Massachusetts are absolutely winnable.
We love fighting cases at trial. Particularly if there is no breath test evidence (if you refused to take a breathalyzer), most of the time we’ve got a good chance to win. Failing the field sobriety tests alone is often explainable.
However the big downside is that you may have to wait 6 months or more to get your case settled. On a first offense charge, where a plea and a hardship license is an option, and most people can’t get by without a driver’s license for that long.
So even with cases that could very likely be won at trial, ultimately choose to work out a deal.
Working out a deal on an OUI Charge
Most of our clients do hire us to work out a deal, and get them back on the road as quickly as possible. If you decide you want to work out a deal, as most people end up choosing, there are some options to consider, and important value your lawyer can provide.
For a first offense OUI, most judges and prosecutors will agree to a plea of Continuance Without Finding (CWOF). This means you won’t have to be technically guilty of a crime, although the finding stays on your record. You will face the following penalties:
- 1-year probation
- License suspension for 45-90 days
- 16-week mandatory drug & alcohol education program
A CWOF is the minimum penalty allowed by law for a 1st offense OUI plea.
Massachusetts also has a provision for a hardship license, allowing you to get to and from work when your license has been otherwise suspended (if you qualify). The availability of a hardship license, to get you back on the road within a week of your court date, is the key reason most people decide to work out a deal.
Fighting a case at trial certainly has advantages, especially if you have a very winnable case. But the unfortunate fact is that you can’t get a hardship license before your case is resolved, so you will likely be without a driver’s license for 6 months or more. For people who simply can’t survive without the ability to drive for that long, a first offense OUI plea makes sense for them.
Ref: MGL §90-24
A CWOF is possible in most cases when there has been no accident and no additional criminal charges filed with the DUI. Having represented countless first-time DUI cases in Massachusetts, I know what you’re up against. Contact me immediately to discuss the charges against you and your potential of getting a CWOF.
Despite how it feels, being charged with an OUI is not the end of the world. You will get through this and I can help make sure you get the best results possible on your case.
Call me now for a free consultation, anytime.
This is what I do, so let me put my experience to work for your benefit.
I’ve been defending drunk driving cases in court for nearly 20 years. Give me a call, I can help you.
Call Now for a Free Criminal Consultation.