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Social host liability in Massachusetts

Homeowners in Massachusetts who plan on throwing a party over the holiday season need to be aware of the social host laws. If they provide alcohol to guests, they may be liable for any harm or injuries the drinker causes. This includes accidents that occur due to drinking and driving.

According to Aetna, almost half of fatal highway accidents during the holiday season are due to drunk driving. In fact, almost three times more people die due to alcohol-fueled driving during Christmas and New Year's than any other time of the year. In the state of Massachusetts, and in 38 other states, not only are the drivers held liable, but so are the hosts who held the party in which the alcohol was imbibed.

Prevent a DUI with these practical alternatives

When you're out with friends or spending time with family, drinking can seem like an inevitable option. But after a couple of drinks, driving a vehicle may not be the best choice. If you drink more than you expected to, it could lead to your driving home while intoxicated, which can result in a DUI if you get caught.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to driving under the influence. For example, you can always offer nonalcoholic drinks at a party you're hosting or bring nonalcoholic beverages to parties you attend. Here are a few other ideas to consider.

A DUI conviction can adversely affect your car insurance

Drunk driving leads to big problems. You may already know that you will have to deal with fines and problems with your driver's license if you are convicted, but there might be other collateral damage.

A DUI/OUI conviction may harm your ability to afford insurance on your vehicle. You will probably have much higher car insurance premiums. Here are some things you need to know about insurance and drunk driving.

How common is DUI in Massachusetts?

Across the country, many drivers are charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol, an offense that can destroy their lives in various ways (many of which have been addressed on this blog). However, in Massachusetts, drunk driving occurs even more frequently, according to statistics. It is important to know how damaging these charges can be and stay off the road after drinking, of course. However, some drivers may forget that they consumed enough alcohol to push them over the legal limit and in some instances, drivers may be falsely accused of driving under the influence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics from 2012 showed that more drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol in Massachusetts in the previous 30 days when compared to the U.S. national average. The results of the survey showed that 2.2 percent of Massachusetts adults admitted to this behavior, compared to the national average of 1.9 percent.

What is an aggravated DWI charge?

Drivers in Massachusetts who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol will typically face charges of DWI. However, in certain circumstances this charge may be an aggravated DWI which typically results in higher penalties.

According to FindLaw, there are a number of reasons an aggravated charge may be granted. One is the blood alcohol concentration, which can be determined by roadside breathalyzer or blood tests at the station. The legal limit in Massachusetts is .08%, and going over this limit usually results in a DWI. However, if the driver has a limit that is .16%or higher they may be charged with an aggravated DWI which often results in higher fines and/or longer jail time. Other factors that may result in an aggravated charge include:

  • Excessive speed
  • Multiple DWI convictions
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving with minors in the vehicle

Important things to know about DUI breath tests

It's irritating to be subjected to a breath test when you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Even if you are irked by having to take the test, you need to pay attention to how it is administered. Try to remember everything you can because you don't know what point might seem unimportant until it is time to plan your defense.

There are many different factors that can impact a breath test. Here are some important considerations for you to remember in case you are ever stopped for drunk driving and tested.

What is an ignition interlock device?

Drivers in Massachusetts who have been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol may be required to have an ignition interlock device. This device tests the alcohol level of the driver and is court ordered in certain situations.

According to the Massachusetts government, an IID is a monitoring device that is installed in the driver's vehicle and tests for breath alcohol. A passed test is required in order to start the vehicle, and then it randomly requires retests while being operated. This device is required for drivers who have been convicted of OUI two or more times. The minimum court order is for two years, and it may be in the vehicle of a driver who has a hardship license or for one who has a newly reinstated license.

Investigating suspected drunk drivers

When a person is suspected of committing a crime, police, state troopers and sheriff's deputies may take certain actions to determine what they think happened. This isn't always easy because there might be a lack of evidence. In the case of drunk driving (often referred to as OUI or DUI in Massachusetts), charges may be brought as a result of a law enforcement officer initially observing signs of intoxication in a driver.

Signs can include a swerving vehicle, reckless driving or other careless actions on the road. Whether or not an accident has occurred, law enforcement may be aggressive in trying to identify drunk drivers. Here are some methods that officers use to make an arrest.

When university policies interfere with medical marijuana use

With recent changes to marijuana laws in different states, millions of Americans are enjoying the benefits of medical treatments involving the use of marijuana. However, even though Massachusetts allows for the use of marijuana for certain medical purposes, some universities and colleges have not adjusted their policies to allow the use of legal medical marijuana on campus.

As a result of certain university drug policies, many students are left with a difficult choice: Move off campus or deal with the difficult symptoms of their illnesses. It's not uncommon, for example, for a university to automatically expel and fine students who possess cannabis that is prescribed for medical purposes. In other situations, students might be required to leave campus housing and never come back.

Halloween celebrations and DUI charges

During holidays such as Halloween, some people choose to drink alcohol as part of their celebrations. Unfortunately, this can result in drunk driving charges for those who take to the road afterward. If you were recently charged with driving under the influence on Halloween, you could be facing all sorts of worries and be unsure of what the implications of these charges will be. In this position, our law firm knows how essential it is to take a close look at your legal rights and prepare thoroughly.

Sometimes, people forgetfully drive under the influence on Halloween. This can occur in a variety of ways, which some people fail to realize. For example, someone may visit a friend's house while they are trick-or-treating with their child, at which point they may be offered an alcoholic drink. Sometimes, the amount of alcohol in a mixed drink can be unclear, so the person could unknowingly drive while their blood alcohol content level is over the legal limit. People may also be accused of drunk driving after they leave celebrations at a bar or a house party. Regardless of the details surrounding the way in which someone drank alcohol and celebrated Halloween, these charges can destroy your holiday and have a major impact on your life in the months and years ahead.

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

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