Do you have an arraignment for an OUI charge coming up tomorrow or even this morning? This is what you need to know BEFORE you get to court, and also exactly what we can do to help.
Here’s the extra short answer:
It’ll be fine.
You can quickly get through an arraignment yourself without a lawyer. (Assuming there isn’t a serious injury or other complications.)
But you should look to hire an attorney as soon as possible.
Need more? Read on.
Frequently Asked Questions About OUI Arraignments
If you are about to be arraigned in district court after being arrested on an OUI/DUI charge in Massachusetts, don’t panic! The following questions and answers will help you understand what is about to happen to you.
I can also answer any specific questions you have about your DUI arrest. I answer and return texts and calls nights and weekends, so please feel free to call me to discuss your case anytime at (781) 380-7730. There is no obligation for my consultation.
Are you on your way to your arraignment right now or in the morning? Even if I am already booked in a different court, but I will happily answer questions via text.
Click to text me right now and I can offer you additional specific advice immediately.
– Russell Matson, Attorney at Law
You will need to appear in district court to be arraigned on the charges. The arraignment usually happens the next business day after your arrest. When the police release you, you will be given paperwork that identifies exactly where and when (almost always 9 am) you need to appear.
If you failed the breath test, your license has been suspended for 30 days on a first offense charge.
If you refused the breath test, your license has been suspended for 180 days on a first offense.
Either way, you can’t drive to court since your license is suspended. (Unless you actually passed the breath test with a .06 or .07)
If this is a second offense charge, see my 2nd offense page. (If you’ve already been to an arraignment, your next court date is a pretrial.)
If you haven’t hired an attorney yet because of short notice or scheduling conflicts, then you will get through the arraignment just fine by yourself.
Nothing bad will happen without one. You’ll just get another court date so you have time to talk to a lawyer.
But if you can quickly arrange for an attorney to be there that morning, it can be a very good idea for several reasons, yes.
You won’t have to worry. Not much can go wrong as long as you don’t say anything, but you can have more peace of mind that it’s taken care of, and I can start to answer all the questions I know you have.
I’ll get the ball rolling on resolving your case immediately.
If you think you are going to work out a deal so you can get a hardship license and get back on the road quickly, sometimes we can even take care of it that very day.
I’ll make sure the prosecutor and judge treat you fairly and don’t try to talk you into a substandard deal.
If the case is complicated by an accident, witnesses, or multiple offenses, sometimes things can get a little tricky. It’s a lot to figure out by yourself.
We can evaluate your case right away, and help you decide immediately whether you should consider fighting the case.
If you’ve already decided to plead guilty, and all you want to do is get your license back as quickly as possible, we can very often work out a plea deal for the minimum sentence allowed by law on the spot.
This can save you a month or more in waiting for the court to do the same thing, so you can get back on the road, and get your life back. In 7-10 days, we’ll go with you to the Registry Hearing to help you get a Hardship License.
And if you are going to hire an attorney anyway, it doesn’t cost any more to have your attorney at the arraignment, to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Either I or my associates generally keep Monday mornings open for DUI arraignments. so if you have been arrested over the weekend and need to appear on Monday, please call me, and I’ll get back to you. If someone else hasn’t already hired us, we can be there.
If you have a weekday arraignment, we may be booked up but can help via text.
Or you can text me anytime and I will text you back ASAP or call my office at (781) 380-7730.
That is ok, you can manage without one at the arraignment. Even though it can be a little frightening and intimidating, nothing bad is going to happen to you at a first offense OUI arraignment.
Sometimes people call me after I’ve already arranged to be in a different court. Or, maybe you are reading this just minutes before you are about to go to court. So don’t panic. Arraignments without an attorney are usually very simple. Not much happens, other than getting a future court date.
The arraignment is where your OUI charges are formally read into the court record, your plea is entered (not guilty) and you are given another court date.
But these tips are critical if you go to the arraignment before you hire me.
Do not speak to anyone about anything concerning your case. Don’t talk about your case to the prosecutor, clerks, judge, or anyone. Don’t even talk about it in the hallway with your friend. If a court officer overhears you say something incriminating, it could be used against you.
As you enter the court, they will tell you which courtroom arraignments are being held.
You need to check-in at the probation department first, and then head into the arraignment session.
When your name is called, simply say that you are waiting to speak to your attorney.
You will enter a plea of not guilty, or the judge will do so on your behalf, and that should be it. You will get another court date to appear at a pretrial conference, usually about a month or two in the future.
Ask the judge for a copy of the police report. This is very important. The police report contains the officer’s description and an account of the facts of the arrest. This is a summary of the basis for the case against you, so it is important for me to read it to be the most help to you. That is the basis of how I can fully evaluate your case, and help you make a decision on what to do next.
That’s it. Go home, or to work (don’t drive without a license!), and email a scanned copy of it (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax it to me
(just kidding, no one has a fax. Text me a picture of the paperwork.) and I’ll get back to you with a consultation.
I believe you. This is what happens all the time. It can be frustrating and depressing to read the officer’s account of how drunk you supposedly appeared to be. Police reports can be incredibly misleading, very biased against you, and even factually incorrect. So don’t panic.
Many people underestimate how good their case is. An officer is rarely going to say anything positive about the person he just arrested. And it is usually a bad strategy to claim the officer is lying. Most people just won’t believe it.
But it is my job to bring up the positive things in your defense that make you look innocent. And I will argue that the officer was careless, sloppy, and simply mistaken. With reasonable doubt on our side, we can win a lot of cases.
A lot of what the police officer’s write in the police report is completely standard. The officer barely even thinks about it. He writes the same words all the time in every arrest.
you smelled of alcohol,
your eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and
you were unsteady on your feet.
It says all that is pretty much every case I’ve ever won.
I have a lot to say about lies and misleading statements in police reports. So don’t worry about those particular details. I will go over the police report with you, and tell you what I can do to refute the officer’s claims.
This is what I do. I’ve read thousands of police reports and taken hundreds of OUI cases to court. As you can see when you are browsing around my site, I have lots of ideas about how to successfully challenge and beat DUI charges in Massachusetts, and I have a record of success to back it up.
I’ll also be honest with you and tell you if I think your case isn’t very good, and it’s not likely that you will win. But I’ve also beaten plenty of cases where I originally didn’t think we had much of a chance.
Please call me anytime, 24 hours a day for a free phone consultation about your upcoming arraignment on an OUI charge. I return calls and texts on nights and weekends and answer the phone directly whenever I can.
Appearing in court for the first time after being arrested is scary for most people. I hope the answers above have helped alleviate your fears. And it may be of some comfort for you to know that most people tell me the arrest is by far the worst part, since you are scared, humiliated, alone, and don’t know what will happen.
But in court, you have an experienced professional criminal defense lawyer fighting on your behalf, and explaining everything, so you don’t have to worry (as much).
I can help you fight your case, or get the best deal possible. So call me now, anytime.
Let’s get started.
– Attorney Russell Matson
Text: (24/7) 781-817-6332
I defend OUI cases in every district court in Massachusetts.