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Boston OUI/DUI Defense Blog

Do I qualify for a hardship license?

Driving to and from work is something most Massachusetts residents take for granted. However, if you have a suspended license due to operating under the influence, getting to work may be difficult. If driving is essential to your routine, you can request a suspension hearing for a hardship license at one of the RMV hearing sites.

There are different criteria for this limited access license, depending on whether this is your first or subsequent offense.

What to do if you are stopped on suspicion of DUI

Most people understand that driving under the influence is never a good idea, but everyone makes mistakes. In some situations, officers can make mistakes, too.

For example, imagine driving home on a Friday night when you swerve to avoid hitting a cat in the street. Unfortunately, an officer who was approaching from the rear saw you make the maneuver but did not see the cat. Now the officer thinks you are intoxicated and pulls you over with the intention to administer a field sobriety test and possibly charge you with driving under the influence (DUI).

Specialty courts can help defendants get a second chance

Many people who face criminal charges in Massachusetts will be able to take part in a specialty court program. These programs are meant to address some of the more common issues that people coming into the criminal justice system might face.

Residents of this state are fortunate to have a variety of specialty courts. They can help participants follow a plan to help them become productive members of society. Here are some important things to know about these programs.

Challenging the accuracy of field sobriety tests

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is against the law in Massachusetts. Performing a field sobriety test is voluntary if law enforcement officers request them when they pull you over. However, if you refuse to take one, the consequences may include spending the night in jail. At Attorney John B. Seed, we have experience representing clients who have failed these tests.

 According to Field Sobriety Tests, there are three standardized tests recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: the one leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus and the walk and turn. Many experts believe that these measures are subjective and unreliable when relied upon to establish proof of intoxication. They require the subjects to perform familiar tasks in a way that is unfamiliar. Most people are not confident in unusual circumstances. As such, the likelihood of failing the tests increase.

Should you refuse or submit to taking the breathalizer test?

If you are pulled over in Massachusetts for suspicion of drunk driving, you are probably just a little stressed out. There are many things going on in your mind and you may not be thinking straight. To make things worse, the officer will ask if you are willing to take a breathalyzer, and your answer one way or the other can have serious consequences. Hopefully, you are a responsible driver and this scenario will never happen, but it is always good to have all the information possible so you can make the decision that is best for you.

Very Well Mind discusses some of the penalties associated with refusing a sobriety test, whether it is a breathalyzer or other test. Due to implied consent laws, you are required by law to submit to these tests although you also have the right to refuse them. If you refuse in Massachusetts, an immediate consequence is you lose your license for a certain period of time, which remains as a penalty even if it turns out you are not found guilty of a DUI. In some states drivers also face additional jail time and fines.

Underage drinking can lead to major problems

The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 years old. However, there is a loophole in the law that allows parents or grandparents to furnish alcohol to underage people on private property. Even though this type of drinking is allowed in a home, there are still penalties if the underage drinker engages in certain activities.

Statistics suggest that a typical underage drinker consumes about $1,953 of alcohol per year. Adults who can legally consume alcohol have approximately 1.7 drinks per day while underage drinkers average around four drinks -- which is a lot -- in that same time frame.

Ignition interlock devices: Strict requirements in Massachusetts

Drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts come with specific penalties that you should be aware of. For some individuals, the use of an ignition interlock device is required. If you are court-ordered to install one of these devices, you must use it every time you drive. Failing to comply with the court order can lead to serious legal troubles.

Here are some other things you need to know about ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in Massachusetts.

Personal consequences of a DUI

The majority of drivers in Massachusetts know that driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law, and they have an idea of many of the legal consequences. Getting convicted of a DUI can lead to the loss of a driver's license, court fees, fines and possible jail time. Some drivers will also be required to take alcohol classes and be on probation for a certain period of time. There are also personal consequences that many may not think about, and these can affect the person for a long time.

According to DrugAbuse.com, the fees associated with a DUI in Massachusetts depend on a number of factors, but they can be as high as $50,000. The financial hardship, alone, can affect many areas of one's life. Take into account a DUI may also affect one's employment and this is another financial consequence of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Other personal consequences may include embarrassment, the dependence on others for transportation and a lack of trust from friends and family. 

Strict Massachusetts criminal penalties related to opioids

The opioid crisis is real. This deadly drug problem is pervasive nationwide, but some people might be surprised to know that it is worse in Massachusetts than what the U.S. as a whole is experiencing.

Many different government agencies and municipalities are taking steps to control the opioid epidemic. This has led to some strict laws related to opioids, including heroin.

Divorce and drunk driving

For some people, going through the divorce process can be very tough. Unfortunately, this can give rise to other challenges, such as an increase in the amount of alcohol one consumes. When someone drinks more often, and in greater quantities, they may be more likely to operate a vehicle while intoxicated at some point. Unfortunately, drunk driving charges can make it even more difficult for someone who has already been through a tough divorce to move forward in their life.

Some people are emotionally devastated after their marriage ends and they may suffer from depression and have other negative emotions. Sometimes, people turn to alcohol during these difficult life experiences, especially those who feel like they simply cannot handle what they are going through. However, being pulled over by a law enforcement official for driving drunk can make life even harder in all sorts of ways.

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

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