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Boston OUI/DUI Defense Blog

What are defenses against a horizontal gaze nystagmus test?

One way police officers determine that a driver might be drunk is to use the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. Usually, an officer will ask a Massachusetts driver to follow an object, and while the driver does so, the officer watches to see if the driver’s eyes start jerking if the driver looks off to the side. This kind of test is considered more accurate than other field sobriety tests. However, this does not mean there are not valid defenses against this test.

FindLaw explains that while many state courts consider a HGN test to be credible, the test still should be conducted under proper guidelines, namely the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) guidelines established by the NHTSA. A defense attorney may assert that the officer in question did not implement the HGN test as these guidelines dictate. The judge hearing the case will then determine if the test was conducted appropriately or if the results are not admissible.

Can an OUI derail your career?

As you may be aware, getting an OUI, or drunk driving conviction, can affect your career and future employment. Imagine being an employer. You want to hire someone who can be at work on time, who is trustworthy and who is reliable. Then, you review the applicant's background check and see an OUI. Now, you have to question if they can get to work on time and if they are reliable. You have to question if they would perform the job safely.

When you look at it from that angle, would you hire someone with an OUI? It's possible, but it does significantly limit your options. That's why it's a good idea to defend yourself, even if this is a first-time offense. An OUI has consequences that can last for months or years, so you need to do all you can to avoid a conviction.

Reasons people give for illegal activity

A lot of illegal activity comes with a basis around personal gain, but may be committed due to desperate circumstances. While someone robs a store in order to get something for free another person might steal to pay their family's bills. One person will break the speed limit to get to their destination faster while another races to make an important appointment. 

Many people break the law purposely while others do it out of necessity. They understand the potential ramifications, whether it's insider trading or drunk driving or something else entirely. So, what is it that makes people decide that they're going to violate the law?

Compare the many defenses of drunk driving

As pretty much everyone who drives knows, driving under the influence of alcohol increases the risk of an accident. It also increases the likelihood of a run in with the law. However, in this case, "knowledge does not equal power" because people continue to drive while intoxicated and face the repercussions.

If you're pulled over in Massachusetts for suspicion of driving under the influence, it's critical to protect your legal rights from that point forward. This starts with knowing what to say and what not to say during your arrest and processing.

Criminal cases have 2 types of juries

In criminal cases, there are two types of juries. These each serve a different purpose but are both important to the process. It is helpful to understand the differences so that you have a better idea of what is going on.

There is a chance that some criminal matters will require both of these juries to participate in the case, but others may have only one or even none. The circumstances of the case determine which juries are needed.

Smartphones may come to the rescue to reduce DUI risks

Drivers in Massachusetts often find themselves facing a DUI charge despite not being a habitual drinker and generally staying within their limits. How does this happen? Sometimes a person really does have one too many. Also, some alcoholic beverages affect people differently. A person who handles their whisky well but one night decides to have vodka instead, may find that their body is more susceptible to one form of alcoholic drink than the other.

CNN points out that people are also not very good at knowing their limit. Because of this, some smartphone apps are coming to the rescue. These apps can be helpful not just for repeat DUI offenders or people who struggle with alcoholism, but even people who only drink on occasion. In fact, it is not a bad idea to get into the habit of checking potential impairment before getting behind the wheel and attempting to drive home.

Drug charges? Plan, don't panic

Receiving drug charges can change your life overnight. If your charges result in a conviction, you may face serious fines, restrictions to your freedom and opportunities, and even jail time. The laws in many parts of the country are softening toward some substances, and Massachusetts legalized marijuana just a few years ago, but drug convictions still receive some of the harshest penalties handed out for non-violent crimes.

If you face drug charges, you should take the situation seriously, but should not let yourself panic. You may have more options for building a defense than you realize at first, and the sooner you begin working on your defense, the more time you have to protect yourself and your future. A strong legal strategy is essential to keeping your rights secure whenever you face criminal charges of any kind.

Can supervised experiments with alcohol prevent underage DUIs?

Like many other states, underage drinking is a problem in Massachusetts. Many high school and college students consider binge drinking a rite of passage as they mature from teenagers to adults. This type of thinking has led to reckless and irresponsible behavior at parties and behind the wheel. But is restriction always the best way for you to protect minors from the responsibilities they will have when they can legally drink? After all, adults 21 years and older get DUIs too.

Some parents are now considering a different approach by setting their own rules at home. CNN shares the method one family used to prepare their college-bound son. Rather than allow him to have his initial experiment without adult supervision in college, his father allowed him to have the occasional beer while supervised on vacation in Canada, where the legal drinking age is 18 years old.

Criminal defendants have the right to a fair trial

While the majority of criminal cases are resolved through the use of plea deals, there are still some that go to a trial. Defendants who opt to pursue this option should remember that they have specific rights in Massachusetts. Many are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and have been clarified and upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

If any of these rights aren't complied with, your case may be dismissed. In fact, if you notice any violations of your rights at any point from the arrest or investigation through the final disposition of the case, you should alert your attorney since this can be information that is vital to your defense strategy.

Out-of-state suspensions can lead to Massachusetts suspensions

It is not uncommon for Massachusetts drivers to head to big party cities like Miami and Las Vegas and get their driving privileges suspended or revoked. This may result from multiple DUIs in the area or a serious car crash. Many may then believe they can escape their driving records in Florida and Nevada by just heading back to Massachusetts like nothing ever happened.

This is a far cry from the truth. According to Mass.gov, states have access to a National Driver Register. Every state is required to use this to notify a driver’s home state if they have committed any offense that led to a suspension or revocation of their privilege to drive in those areas. When Massachusetts receives a notification of suspension or revocation in another state, the driver will receive a suspension notice in the mail from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

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

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