An Expedited Plea Deal is the Fastest Way to Get Your Driver’s License Back After an OUI
Most people in Massachusetts choose to plead guilty to OUI charges, and I can certainly understand why. The system is set up to make it as difficult as possible to defend yourself in court, so the state can get easy convictions.
My practice is built on fighting the charges whenever possible, so I would encourage everyone to carefully review my top reasons to fight your OUI charges in court. But my job as an attorney is to do what is ultimately in the best interests of my clients, and sometimes that means negotiating a plea.
Why People Choose to Plead Guilty in OUI Cases
“I Can’t Be Without My License For 6 months or More”
If you refused to take a breath test, you are stuck with the 180-day license suspension. Many people plead guilty (or to a CWOF – continuance without a finding) simply because they can’t afford to wait the 4-6 months it will typically take to get a trial date, and have the case resolved, even when they would have a good chance to win the case.
I feel terribly for people who should not have been arrested, and have very winnable cases, but who just aren’t able to fight. But for too many people, it’s a choice between losing your house, because you can’t make a living and pay the mortgage without being able to drive to work, and accepting an unfair conviction.
The reality is that the system just wins in these cases. It sucks, but it’s an unfortunate option some people have to accept.
“I Just Want To Move On With My Life”
Some people are overwhelmed with shame and embarrassment over being arrested, and just don’t want to fight the case. If you feel like you made a horrible mistake in drinking and driving, and want to face the consequences, then I can certainly understand that. But know that the conviction or CWOF stays with you, and could hurt you in the future.
However, if you are the kind of person who knows they will never make a similar mistake or be in trouble with the law again, then this may make sense for you.
I’ve also had clients who didn’t feel that they could handle the stress of a trial, and simply wanted the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible.
“I failed the breath test and don’t think I can win”
It used to be true that it can be difficult to beat a breath test, but recently it is increasingly possible and likely with new legal challenges to the validity of breath test machines.
Even when the BAC number can’t be dismissed right away, there are other options. It usually requires hiring an expert witness to provide a plausible theory of why the breath test machine may have registered a false positive. Some of the many reasons this can happen are:
- Mouth Alcohol – if the subject burps before the test
- Food or Diet – consuming some mints, mouthwash, bread or other food, and high protein diets can cause false readings
- Medical Conditions – GERD and other stomach conditions can cause a false breath alcohol reading
There are also new defenses that call into question the legal validity and methodology of these machines, and some judges are sympathetic to these arguments. If we succeed at getting the breath test “number” thrown out, then many cases are winnable.
What I Can Do to Help You With an OUI Plea
1) Expedite the Process
If you hire me for the arraignment, often I can arrange to negotiate a plea deal on the spot. That’s something you probably couldn’t do on your own, and it could save you a month or more before having a chance to resolve the case at the next court date, a pre-trial.
If you have a pre-trial date off in the future, I can often move up the date (motion to advance the pretrial date) to settle it quickly.
I may be able to save you weeks, if not months of time lost to the court calendar. If that is the point of a plea, then the sooner the better to get you back on the road.
2) Guide You Through the Process, Step by Step
Showing up in court on a criminal charge is a very stressful event for most people. I can guide you through the process, explain everything to you, and offer you peace of mind that you aren’t going through it alone, and that you have someone with you who is knowledgeable, and looking out for your interests.
3) Make Certain You Get a Fair Deal
Most DAs and judges are fair, but some are not. I’ll do everything to get you the minimum sentence allowed by law. If your case has some complicated circumstances and the DA or judge aren’t willing to treat you fairly, I’ll look for ways to move the case in front of a different judge.
I’ll also give a thorough review of the evidence against you (the police report) and make sure there aren’t any procedural errors that the police may have made that could actually get your case dismissed.
Also, I can often get the DA to agree to drop any other charges, like speeding, lanes violations or other civil traffic violations, which can potentially save you thousands of dollars in fines and insurance points. Even criminal charges like negligent operation or operating to endanger can usually be CWOF-ed, and the probations run concurrent, so they don’t have any significant impact on your plea.
3) Make sure every other defense option is explored first
Just because you are prepared to take a plea deal and avoid a trial doesn’t mean we have to jump to that outcome.
I will still evaluate your case and make sure there aren’t any options to get the case dismissed because of police error, and look for other legal defense options.
Are you a veteran?
There are pretrial diversion options under the Valor Act that can avoid a conviction and many of the consequences of an OUI. Even in cases of a second offense.
4) Help you get a Hardship License Promptly and Back on the Road
A hardship license (limited, 12 hours a day) is available in most 1st offense OUI cases, subject to a few conditions.
I am one of the few Massachusetts OUI Attorneys who takes the time to attend the Registry Hearings with my clients to make sure they get a Hardship License quickly and efficiently.
The process is not all that complicated, but some of the paperwork and requirements are a little tricky, and my presence usually makes things go smoothly. It takes about a week for the plea paperwork to show up in the Registry computers, at which point I’ll be there at the hearing to help you get a hardship license so you can move on with your life.
Call me at any hour for a free legal consultation on your case. I’ll let you know what I can do to help you protect your rights. Call 781-380-7730 now. There’s no obligation for my advice and evaluation of your case, so you have nothing to lose by calling.
Russell Matson, Attorney at Law
Braintree, MA 02184
Attorney Russell Matson concentrates his practice in DUI Defense. He is a recognized authority on the subject of Massachusetts Drunk Driving laws and related legal topics.