OUI Breath-Test Evidence Questions

Many questions are being raised about OUI breath-test evidence causing defense attorneys to examine their OUI cases. While the state reviews the breath analysis machines, prosecutors are suspending the use of evidence from police.

It may only be a small amount of readings, but the Massachusetts Bar Association is calling for an independent assessment of the dependability of the tests. Depending on the results, people could look into dismissals or even new trials.

Attorneys across the state are going through OUI cases to see which clients will be affected. They are either pursuing continuances of OUI cases or not using breath test evidence until the problem is fixed.

If you or someone you know has been convicted of or negotiated a plea agreement in MA for an OUI over the last two years based on a breath test result, you may have options in revisiting the matter. Feel free to contact me at 978.352.0384 or my partner Jason Chan at 781.343.1384 to explore your options.

What are the Guidelines for a Checkpoint?

Generally, police obtain the right to probable cause when a motorist commits a traffic violation, is potentially intoxicated at the wheel, or receives a tip that the motorist may be drunk at the wheel. The reason for these sobriety checkpoints according to the Supreme Court is to ensure the safety and security of every driver on the road. They believe this is the best and most efficient way to limit the potential for drunk driving that may result in a fatality of the driver and/or the general public.

Here are the guidelines set forth to ensure the constitutionality of the checkpoints:

  • The observation of the driver must be minimal so that the motorist does not feel he or she is being singled out.
  • The officer has a reasonable suspicion that the operating driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or contraband is in plain view.
  • If this is the case, the driver will be directed to a secondary screening.
  • During the secondary screening, the driver will be asked to drive onto the shoulder of the road, provide license & registration & might be asked to execute field sobriety tests.
  • Depending on the results of the field sobriety tests, this could lead to an arrest.

Contact Attorney John Seed at 978-352-0384 for questions on the laws pertaining to OUI/DUIs.

Opiate & Heroin Epidemic

Since 2012, more than 700 individuals in the state of Massachusetts have died of an opiate overdose, most of which include heroin. In December alone, nearly 58 deaths we confirmed by the Massachusetts State Police and that number seems to be increasing daily.

The recent revival in the heroin epidemic has raised serious concerns throughout the Northeast, especially in Massachusetts where the death rate has risen significantly since 2000. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in 2000, Massachusetts had an opioid related death rate of 363. By 2011, the number had increased significantly to 642, and two years later was up to 860.

This devastating epidemic can create a terrible situation for not only the individuals involved but their families as well. In 2013, the Obama administration put a number of funds and resources into fighting the nation’s overall drug problem. The administration felt that this problem was more of a public health issue rather than a criminal problem.

The Massachusetts State Police have been working with the DEA to crack down on the epidemic and focus on the illegal drug trade that is occurring throughout the Northeast Region of the United States. Massachusetts has also put a large number of resources into helping with addiction as well, offering a number of affordable counseling and treatment options for recovering addicts.

Attorney Seed has worked with many clients and their families to help them get their lives back while going through the recovery process of addiction. Many times, heroin addicts find themselves facing charges they’ve picked up trying to feed their addiction. Most often, they are charged with drug or larceny related offenses. Attorney Seed has worked hard to assist his clients in finding their sobriety first, and then handling the court matters.

Often times, Assistant District Attorneys across the state will look to incarcerate addicts to get them off the street. That does not solve the problem. The disease of addiction needs to be treated and monitored – through the court system and not the sheriff’s department. Attorney Seed has been able to propel many clients forward and out of the cyclical life of addiction and keep them out of prison.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a heroin related incident or is suffering from addiction, contact Attorney John B. Seed today. We offer free legal consultations for all of our clients in the State of Massachusetts.

Drunk Driving, is it Really Worth the Risk?

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of Alcohol is often a very serious offense in the state of Massachusetts. If the operator has a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater, then they are unable to effectively operate a motor vehicle. Being convicted with an OUI can have serious lifelong consequences and can often be a very expensive endeavor.

Attorney John B. Seed works to fight for every OUI case and get the results the client needs. With experience on both sides of the law, Attorney Seed has the knowledge and experience to defend each of his clients the most effective way possible. Attorney Seed has litigated over 700 individual OUI cases as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Generally OUI offenses fall into three categories

  • 1st Offense: jail time up to 30 months, suspended license for one year, and a fine of $500 to $5000. Alternative disposition: case is Continued without a Finding of Guilt (CWOF) for one year. Client must enter and complete 40 hours of alcohol education and license suspension not less than 45 days, not more than 90 days with hardship license eligibility three business days after plea deal.
  • 2nd Offense: mandatory jail time of at least 60 days, loss of license for two years, and a fine of $600 to $10,000. Alternative disposition: suspended jail sentence for two years of probation with a 14 days inpatient program.
  • 3rd Offense: Felony – jail time of at least 180 days minimum mandatory, or up to 5 years in State Prison, 8 year license suspension, and a fine of $1,500
  • 4th Offense: jail time of at least 2 years minimum mandatory, or up to 5 years in State Prison; 10 year license suspension, and a fine of $1,500 to $25,000.
  • 5th Offense: minimum mandatory 2.5 years in jail or up to 5 years in State Prison, permanent license suspension, and a fine of $2,000 to $50,000

When calculating how many drinks one can consume and operate a motor vehicle, there are a number of factors to consider. For example, the physical attributes of the individual, how many drinks the individual has consumed, what type of drinks being consumed and how much a person has eaten that day. The best and most effective way to ensure your BAC is not over the legal limit is to simply avoid drinking and driving.

Every day it is calculated that nearly 300,000 people operate a motor vehicle intoxicated, but only 4,000 of the 300,000 are arrested. Though that number seems small, it is better to be safe and not drink and drive then risk the chance of endangering not only your life, but the lives around you.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an OUI and needs a quality and reliable defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of John B. Seed at 978-352-0384.