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Boston OUI/DUI Defense Blog

How can people fail sobriety tests without being drunk?

The problem with field sobriety tests is that they can result in a “false positive,” which means that the test can conclude you have alcohol in your system when in fact you do not. While Massachusetts field sobriety tests are not complicated, it is a fact that a completely sober driver can still fail a sobriety test, which can lead to an unnecessary arrest and time in court.

A report from NBC affiliate Channel 29 out of Virginia points out how a sober motorist may end up on the wrong end of a sobriety test. Any motorist should be aware of how aspects of a sobriety test, like a walk-and-turn or a one-leg test, can register false positives. Here are three such instances where a person may not perform well on a sobriety test.

Criminal cases: Sentence types and some of the factors involved

Criminal cases that result in a conviction must go through the sentencing phase. During this phase, the court reviews the factors of the case and determines what punishment the person should face. Sentencing can be complicated, so it is imperative for anyone facing criminal charges to understand certain things.

The need for sentencing arises after a defendant pleads guilty without a plea deal, pleads guilty with a plea deal, or is found guilty in a trial. With the exception of defendants who make plea agreements, there can be plenty of uncertainty about what is going to happen next.

Stricter policies proposed to reduce drunk driving

Late on a Friday or Saturday night, many people in Boston keep an eye out for drunk drivers. While Massachusetts is perhaps no worse than other states when it comes to drunk driving, it is nonetheless a problem that needs to be addressed. CNN estimates that drunk drivers kill one person every 51 minutes — often, including themselves.

But, will stricter policies put an end to drunk driving? That may depend on the policies proposed. One proposal in 2016 called for lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05 percent. The National Transportation Safety Board proposed the change and even suggested going lower than the 0.05 to deter people from buzzed driving. The line of argument was that a low number meant that people could no longer negotiate with themselves about whether or not they could drink one or two more glasses.

How important are "Miranda rights" in a criminal case?

A person's Miranda rights are an important part of the defense strategy in some cases. It is imperative that anyone who has contact with the police understand these rights and when they are relevant. Some people falsely believe that they should be read their Miranda rights -- "You have the right to remain silent ..." -- during any interaction with the police. In fact, there are only specific times when a person must be read these rights.

The necessity to provide the Miranda warning to individuals came in response to Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1966 that people who are being interrogated while they are in police custody have specific rights that they must be reminded of before they can be asked any questions.

Detailing alcohol's journey from your blood to your breath

The common representation of an arrest for drunk driving arrest in Boston is a person standing on the side of the road blowing into a handheld breath testing device. If you happen to find yourself in such a position, then you may be contemplating why it is that law enforcement officers use a measurement of your breath to determine what your blood alcohol content is. This is a question often posed to the team here working for Attorney John B. Seed by those facing DUI charges. The answer requires an understanding of how alcohol makes its way through your body. 

The actual name for the type of alcohol found in drinks is ethanol. This is a water-soluble compound, which is important in explaining how ethanol ends up in your blood. According to information shared by the Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, when you ingest ethanol. its molecules are able to pass through the layer of epithelial cells that line your stomach and small intestine via a process known as passive diffusion (which occurs much easier with water-soluble compounds). From there, the ethanol molecules pass into capillaries that surround the organs of your gastrointestinal tract and enter the bloodstream. 

How college students can be accused of credit or debit card fraud

Many college students rely on a credit or debit card to pay for meals out, necessities and other expenses. While some choose to use services like PayPal and Venmo to transfer money to each other so that shared costs can be covered, others might choose to hand over cash. College students need to be aware of the possibility of being accused of credit or debit card fraud.

Some students might be shocked to learn that there are times when this accusation can fly even if they didn't steal anyone's card. It is imperative to know some specific things about proper debit and credit card usage.

Drunk driving cases and higher education

There are many ways in which drunk driving allegations can turn someone’s life upside down. Some people may suffer from a career point of view, while others may have a hard time with financial penalties and even time behind bars. Some people are in a unique position, such as those who are attending college, and there are various ways in which DUI charges can disrupt a college student’s studies. Moreover, these allegations may affect a prospective college student as well, so it is crucial to handle these cases with a great deal of care.

If you are currently attending college, drunk driving charges could be devastating with respect to your studies. Whether you are a young adult who was pressured to get behind the wheel while drunk by your peers or you are an older college student who was charged with DUI over a one-off incident, a drunk driving case can be very disruptive. For example, you may lose your driving privileges, which could make it hard for you to get to class. Or, the extreme stress associated with the case may interfere with your ability to study for exams and write papers well. These are just a couple of ways in which DUI charges can throw off someone’s college performance.

Can tougher laws reduce drunk driving?

Like any other state, Massachusetts has its fair share of cases involving adults and minors driving under the influence. The accidents often caused by intoxicated drivers lead to some of the most heartbreaking incidents reported in the news. In spite of this, Americans continue to drink and drive at alarming rates.

According to CNN, 110 million people drive under the influence each year and 1 percent of that number face arrest and charges. To help curb this problem, many states have enacted policies and laws against driving while intoxicated. You are likely familiar with the following:

  •          Sobriety checkpoints
  •          Reduced legal blood alcohol concentration
  •          Rigid enforcement of zero-tolerance policies for minors
  •          Making ignition interlocks mandatory for DWI offenders

How can I avoid trouble at a sobriety checkpoint?

Maybe you are 100 percent sober. Perhaps you've consumed a couple of alcoholic beverages over the last few hours. Or maybe you're borderline drunk. Regardless of your situation, your nerves are sure to kick in as you approach a sobriety checkpoint.

You hope to quickly make your way through the checkpoint, but there's no way of knowing exactly what will happen. This is particularly true if you have alcohol in your system.

Does my refusal to take a breathalyzer have to come up in court?

In 2017, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court made a landmark decision. It removed a rule that for 15 years had dictated if juries should be informed by a judge of a suspects’ refusal to submit to a breath test.

According to NBC Boston 10, the 4-3 ruling now puts that decision in the hands of the defendant. This means you may be under no obligation to disclose that you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, especially if you believe it may negatively impact your case.

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

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