If a Massachusetts police officer pulls you over in a traffic stop, several things can happen. You’ll no doubt have to show your driver’s license and vehicle registration information to the officer. From there, the way events unfold has a lot to do with the reason the officer is making the stop. He or she might issue a warning to drive slower, for instance, and then send you on your way. If the officer suspects OUI, he or she may ask you to step out of the vehicle.
The more you know about OUI laws in this state, as well as what your rights are regarding various issues, such as answering questions or taking a field sobriety test, the better able to navigate the situation you might be. It’s also important to understand the penalties you could face under conviction if you’re arrested and charged with OUI.
You agreed to take a Breathalyzer when you got a driver’s license
When you obtained a license to drive in Massachusetts, you automatically gave implied consent to take a Breathalyzer or chemical test if you were ever arrested on an OUI suspicion. If you refuse to take such tests, your driving privileges are at stake because of the suspension of implied consent laws upon refusal.
If you are age 21 or older, a judge may lift the suspension after 180 days. However, if you are younger, or, if you have a prior OUI conviction on your record, the suspension could be active for several years or, perhaps, permanently.
Fines, jail time or a prison sentence
If a criminal court judge convicts you of OUI in this state, you may be looking at fines between $500 and $5,000. A judge could also sentence you to more than two years in jail. If you have a prior history of convictions, your OUI charges might turn into a felony crime, in which case, you are at risk for going to prison if the judge hands down a conviction.
Your age at the time of arrest affects your case
How old you are when a Massachusetts police officer takes you into custody for suspected OUI has an impact on the possible penalties that you may incur under conviction. For instance, if you are of legal drinking age, then the blood alcohol content (BAC) level for legal operation of a motor vehicle is .08, but if you are under age 21, a .02 BAC is evidence enough to convict you in court.
In addition to your age, if you happen to be a CDL holder and were operating a commercial vehicle when the police pulled you over, then a .04 BAC is what they’ll be looking for on your chemical test. In other words, your age, as well as your BAC level at the time of arrest, can have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of your case.
Is there a way to mitigate your circumstances when facing OUI charges?
If you’re charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, your opportunity to present a defense is a guarantee. You’ll have many decisions to make, such as what type of plea to enter, as well as whether to request a case dismissal or challenge certain evidence as inadmissible.
The average motorist doesn’t feel equipped to make such decisions without first seeking legal guidance, which is a good idea because such support often increases the chances of obtaining as positive an outcome as possible in court.