Many factors may come into play when determining if you are guilty of drunk or impaired driving in Massachusetts. For instance, it might be necessary to prove you were in control of your vehicle when an officer conducted a traffic stop. It may also be necessary to prove that you were legally intoxicated, or you were too impaired to operate a motor vehicle safely.

How the law determines if you were driving

There are several facts that an officer, judge or prosecutor may need to review when determining if you were in physical control of your vehicle. For example, if the keys weren’t in the ignition, it may be harder to prove that you were attempting to drive. The same may be true if you were in the passenger seat, or your vehicle was in a driveway when an officer approached it.

How an officer might determine that you’re impaired

An officer might use multiple data points when deciding if you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol. Slurred speech and bloodshot eyes might be seen as signs of impairment. If you admit to drinking, or your breath smells like alcohol, that could also signal that you’re impaired.

The officer who conducts the traffic stop may ask you to participate in field sobriety tests or agree to a blood or Breathalyzer test. A blood or Breathalyzer test may be able to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Furthermore, the officer may take pictures or create video content that may be used in court as evidence. Finally, your physical appearance may be used as a justification for taking you into custody for an impaired or drunk driving charge.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you may want to consult with an attorney. A lawyer may cast doubt on the results of a blood test or police or eyewitness testimony. This may help you obtain a favorable plea deal or an acquittal.