The Pretrial Process – Here are the Next Steps in an OUI Court Case
If you’ve already been arraigned in court after being arrested on an OUI charge, now you need to figure out what to do next. Your next court date is a pretrial conference.
I can go over your case, and give you advice on our chances of winning in court. And if you’ve decided to plead guilty, I can get move up the court date to allow you to drive with a hardship license as soon as possible.
– Russell J. Matson, Attorney at Law
At a pretrial conference, you and your attorney meet with the prosecutor and discuss your charges. The prosecutor (or District Attorney) will offer a deal to plead to the charges. See my DUI penalties page for details on what you could be facing.
That’s the question everyone needs to answer by the time we get to the pretrial stage, and I can help you work through your options. There are significant pros and cons I’d be happy to discuss with you after evaluating the facts of your case.
At our firm, we love to take cases to trial and win, but we understand that is not a practical option for many of our clients. Most of the time, we are helping clients get back to their lives quickly with the absolute minimum penalty and disruption possible.
If your attorney can negotiate a deal that is fair and agreeable to you, then you might agree to plead guilty on the pretrial date at a pretrial hearing in front of a judge.
If you want to fight the case, then at the pretrial conference/hearing, your attorney will file motions for discovery, possibly set a date for a motion to suppress hearing or determine other court dates as required. Also, if we are fighting the case, I will want to talk with you in detail about the facts of your case at this time if we haven’t gone over them already.
I will also visit the site of the spot where the police pulled you over. That way I can investigate any irregularities about the police procedures, and analyze exactly how we should argue that you are not guilty.
I will help you go over the pros and cons of fighting your case – all the benefits and risks. If you still need time to think about whether you want to go to trial, we can proceed as if you want to fight it.
If you change your mind at any time during the process, we can always agree to a plea deal.
The pretrial conference is a meeting with the ADA to discuss the case and plea options. The pretrial hearing is any official proceedings that need to be handled in front of a judge.
Most often these are the same day, although they don’t have to be.
Yes, often you can. If you are ready to settle your OUI charge, there is no reason to wait months until a pretrial date to get it over with. You can get back on the road with a license much quicker in many cases.
As your attorney, I can file a motion to advance the pretrial court date as soon as possible. If you are pleading guilty to be able to drive again with a hardship license, it doesn’t make sense to wait while your license is suspended.
After I move up the court date, we can get you driving within 7-10 days of going to court.
You really should. Legally and technically, it is possible to represent yourself (pro se). But you would find yourself, quite literally, at the mercy of the court.
The prosecutor is not on your side. Some judges may be fair, but some are extremely harsh to those accused of drunk driving. So the risks are significant, and those risks include jail time.
If you go in without experienced representation, you will never know if they are giving you a fair deal, or if there are technical facts that make your case winnable with a quick motion to dismiss. Honestly, it is a huge and risky mistake to try to represent yourself at a pretrial conference.
As your attorney, I can offer you many benefits in working out a plea, that includes:
I will evaluate your case to make sure there aren’t any legal or police mistakes that should qualify for a dismissal.
I can nearly always negotiate for the minimum penalty allowed under Massachusetts law.
I will fight to have lesser criminal and civil charges dismissed or entered as suspended/concurrent, so they don’t affect you, or further impact your auto insurance rates.
I will reduce your stress level by walking you through the process every step of the way. You will understand what is happening, and you won’t have to worry about being treated unfairly.
I will make sure you get a hardship license if you are eligible. I or one of my associates will make sure all the paperwork is processed properly, and we will represent you at a Registry Hearing, for no extra fee.
It’s never too late if you haven’t pleaded guilty, but the more complicated the case, the more time you want to give your attorney.
And 2nd Offense OUI cases have much more serious penalties. Is your previous OUI over 10 years ago? Then you definitely want to try to get treated as a first offender through a a 24D “Second Chance” disposition. This is not guaranteed, and the judge has discretion, but it is worth every effort to make it happen.
If you are trying to decide what to do in preparation for a pretrial conference court date on a DUI charge, please call me for a free case evaluation.
I can answer any specific questions you have about your drunk driving case. I answer and return 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.
– Russell Matson, Attorney at Law
Attorney Russell J. Matson
The Law Offices of Russell J Matson, PC
Braintree, MA 02184
I fight DUI cases in every Massachusetts district court.