An OUI conviction on your record can have a serious impact on the rest of your life. It can affect your job, your ability to drive, your ability to travel, and your freedom.
Don’t make any of these common mistakes that can limit your legal defense options.
Hiring the wrong lawyer.
You want a lawyer who is experienced in handling driving under the influence cases in Massachusetts. When you are speaking to attorneys, ask him or her:
- How many OUI cases they handles per month.
- Who the best judges and toughest judges are in your district court, and
- What their success rate is at winning cases, getting dismissals, or charges reduced.
You want a lawyer who will investigate and prepare your case and take it to trial, rather than an attorney who talks about making a deal right away. Frequently you have to take a case to trial in order to be found not guilty or have the case thrown out.
Pleading Guilty Without an Attorney.
If you do not get your case evaluated by an experienced OUI attorney, you’ll never know if the state screwed up, and it really should have been dismissed. If you just accept plea deal without a lawyer, you’ll never know if you could have gotten charged reduced, civil penalties dropped, a shorter or no license suspension, a hardship license quicker, and a whole host of things that an attorney who deals with these cases every day will know to look for and to fight for.
Hiring a cheap and inexperienced OUI lawyer.
A lawyer who fights DUI cases every day may not even cost much more than your neighborhood attorney. You don’t know how much time and effort an experienced lawyer can save you, by moving court dates, helping you get a hardship license and driving again ASAP.
Dealing with the registry is something that can be an administrative nightmare, but it is something we do all the time, at no extra cost to our clients. And a lawyer with the lowest fee will have an incentive to go to court and plead you guilty right away, to save time and effort.
Driving to court, or driving at all after your license has been suspended.
If you are arrested after your license has been suspended for an OUI breath test failure or refusal, you can get be arrested a criminal charge of operating on a suspended license. An Operating After Suspension (OAS) after an OUI conviction means you could face a minimum mandatory 60 days in jail.
And don’t think the court officer’s won’t notice, either. We’ve had this happen.
Failure to appear in court.
You do not want to miss a court date. The judge will issue a bench warrant on the spot for your arrest for failure to appear. If you do miss a court date, but it was beyond your control, you need to deal with it immediately. That is something we can help with. Because if you are picked up by the police, your problems become much greater, and your ability to negotiate evaporates.
Talking to anyone but your lawyer about your case.
Don’t speak to the police, don’t speak to your friends, especially at the courthouse, where a court officer could overheard you. Anything you say to anyone other than your lawyer can and will be used against you in court.
Waiting to Deal With Your Case
If you are going to fight your case at trial, there are deadlines and lead times necessary for certain motions and evidence discovery. Your attorney will want as much time as possible to get this done, especially in the case of medical record that show you were unable to complete physical field sobriety exercises. And even if you are nearly sure you want to plead your case, it makes sense to have an attorney at your arraignment or first court date. There can be advantages to speed, and getting a deal done if there is a risk of the prosecutor getting more information about your case that might not be helpful to you.
Failing to prepare for sentencing.
While you hope not to be convicted of the charges, it is still a good idea to prepare for the possibility of sentencing. Sentencing becomes more important if you have previously been convicted of operating under the influence in Massachusetts.You may want to consider attending AA meetings or an alcohol rehabilitation program before you go to court because a judge is likely to be more impressed with actions you take on you own after being arrested than by promises made about future conduct at a sentencing hearing. Your lawyer should also know about your work history and any extenuating circumstances in your case.
I will advise you of what you should do to prepare.
If you’ve hired an attorney who knows what they are doing, then trust them to do the job, and take care of you. A lot of people have tremendous anxiety about their situation, and that is completely understandable. Asking a lot of questions is fine. A good attorney will be reassuring about your situation, and should help you relax.
Mistakes do happen, but working together, we often have a very good chance to successfully defend and win your OUI case.