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Boston OUI/DUI Defense Blog

Can DUI charges affect travel?

If you are charged with driving under the influence, you may have an array of uncertainties related to your circumstances. For example, you may wonder how the charges could impact your life, which may include your relationships with friends and relatives and your employment as well. However, there are other consequences related to DUI charges that people in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts may not realize. For example, these charges could affect your ability to travel.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, drunk driving charges could prevent you from being able to enter Canada. The CBP says that Canadian immigration officials have the ability to decide whether or not those who have been charged with DUI in the past may be allowed to enter the country. Moreover, these charges could affect you in other parts of the world in different ways as well. For example, if you are applying for a job overseas, these charges could result in your being unable to move forward with your application.

Hardship Licenses in Massachusetts

A DUI conviction can bring with it several consequences, including fines and possibly even jail time (depending on the circumstances). Some may think that, if convicted, once the aforementioned penalties have been satisfied, their ordeals are over. Yet one result of a DUI convinction can continue to hinder drivers long after their offenses: license suspension. According to Section 24(3) of Massachusett's General Laws, one who has had his or her license suspended due to driving under the influence cannot have it reinstated for one year. During that time, however, he or she may still need to travel around Boston to attend work, school and other important appointments. How is he or she to do that without a license? 

The Masschusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles allows for drivers who have been convicted of DUI to apply for a hardship license. Such a license allows one to operate a motor vehicle during a set 12-hour period (it is due to these time restrictions that many refer to this privilege as a "Cinderalla license"). Those working through their first conviction must first serve three months of their year-long license suspension in order to qualify. For those seeking hardship licenses after a second of third DUI offense, the waiting period is one and two years, respectively. During that time, repeat offenders must also complete a 14-day inpatient treatment program.

Driving under the influence of marijuana

Everyone knows driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. However, now that marijuana use is legal in Massachusetts, drivers need to understand the rules about driving after smoking or ingesting this drug.

While the law states that it is illegal to drive under marijuana's influence, law enforcement is finding it challenging to test drivers for this drug. According to National Public Radio, there is not a roadside test to definitely test for recent marijuana use. Because it stays in your system for weeks at a time, a positive chemical test cannot prove that the driver had just smoked a joint. Typical field sobriety tests have also not been shown scientifically to prove someone is high, so it isn't a reliable way to determine a DUI of marijuana. A new iPad app has just been developed that may, along with subjective judgment of the police officer, play a role in testing for marijuana. Research around this app and other scientific tests are currently being conducted.

Field sobriety tests have two forms: Know the difference

Law enforcement officers can use a variety of tools to catch drunk drivers. Once an officer sees a driver who is likely impaired, the officer will usually pull the vehicle over.

After police officers or troopers communicate with the driver, they will make a determination about whether the person is impaired. This can include asking a driver to take a field sobriety test. Drivers should learn about these tests so they know what to expect during a drunk driving stop.

Pros and cons of taking the breathalyzer

Drivers who have been drinking in Massachusetts and are stopped by the police will be asked to take a roadside breathalyzer test. While it is ultimately the driver's choice whether to take the test or not, there are things to be aware of so the right decision can be made. According to Massachusetts Law, drivers are unable to contact an attorney about the decision beforehand, so knowing the pros and cons is important.

One of the pros to taking the test is that the driver is seen as cooperative which, although this does not change the results, may help the situation in general. One of the biggest pros is that the license suspension period is shorter. According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, people who take the test and fail (a BAC of .08 or higher) lose their license for 30 days. This is compared to drivers who refuse the breathalyzer, who immediately have their licenses suspended for 180 days.

Failing a field sobriety test while sober

If you fail a sobriety test, a number of negative consequences may lie ahead. For example, you may find yourself out of work or you could have a harder time trying to land a job in the future. Or, perhaps you will face stiff financial penalties or prison time. At the offices of Attorney John B. Seed, we know how devastating it can be for people who face these consequences as a result of failing field sobriety tests while sober.

When it comes to field sobriety tests, there are a number of reasons why you may fail the test, even if you are completely sober. For example, you may be asked to walk in a straight line but have difficulty balancing. Or, perhaps the law enforcement official carrying out the test is new or has not been trained properly. Authorities may suspect that you are intoxicated because you are acting strange due to anxiety and being very nervous after being pulled over. Regardless of the reason why people take field sobriety tests and fail them even though they are not intoxicated, it is pivotal for people in this position to know their legal rights.

Is it okay for police to publicly shame people on Facebook?

It may seem like a good joke at first - police using Facebook to poke fun at some of the people that they arrest and charge for various criminal violations. Some of the posts may seem funny, but they could be a violation of constitutional rights. Those who are accused of drunk driving or other crimes could face irreparable harm from these types of posts.

What is the legal limit for those under 21?

When it comes to DUI, those charged should be aware of their rights. For example, some people in Boston, and all across Massachusetts, do not realize that they do not have to submit to blood alcohol tests if they are pulled over in this state. However, there are other issues that may arise, given a driver's unique circumstances. For example, an underage drinker may not realize that the legal limit for minors is not the same as it is for adults.

According to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is against the law for drivers who are younger than 21 years old to operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol content level is 0.02 or greater. This is different in comparison to adults who are over the age of 21, in which case the legal limit is 0.08. This can raise problems for teen drivers in various ways. For example, a young driver may not realize that they are driving over the legal limit because of the fact that it is substantially lower for underage drinkers. Moreover, this limit increases the number of young drivers who are charged with DUI.

License suspension and daily challenges

If your driving privileges have been taken away due to drunk driving charges, you may be struggling with a plethora of troubles. Not only could you be dealing with various penalties related to the charges, such as costly fines and even time behind bars, but losing your license may lead to daily challenges that wreak havoc in your life. At Attorney John B. Seed, our law firm knows all too well how upsetting this situation can be for people in Boston, and in all other Massachusetts cities.

After losing your license, you may be unable to get to and from work. Unfortunately, this could make your life even more complicated, or, in extreme cases, could even cost you your job. Losing your driving privileges may also leave you unable to pick children up from school, run daily errands, or even take part in activities that you enjoy. As a result, you should examine your choices if you are in this position.

Reviewing statistics on drunk driving charges

Each year, many people are charged with driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In Boston, and across the entire state of Massachusetts, these charges can upend lives in all sorts of ways. As one example, someone charged with DUI may have difficulty during their job search years later. Moreover, penalties such as fines and time behind bars can also make life very difficult.

According to the Department of Transportation, drunk driving has a high rate of arrest in comparison to other offenses. During 2010, over 1.4 million people were taken into custody due to allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol. For many people, life will change as a result of drunk driving allegations and may even have an impact on family members.

There is no time to waste. Let us begin building a strong defense for you now.

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