Some Common Steps to DUI/OUI Defense in the State

Facing drunk driving charges can be frightening. A conviction has serious consequences for the future, and you want to do everything you can to protect yourself and your rights. But the entire process may move quickly, creating a time of confusion and frustration if you don’t have someone with experience and knowledge on your side.

Working with a criminal defense team that’s well-versed in DUI or OUI cases can improve your chances of a positive outcome when facing such charges. A criminal defense attorney can start by helping you understand your best options for a defense strategy.

Challenging the Legality of a Traffic Stop

One common way to defend against a DUI charge is to question the legality of any traffic stop related to the arrest. In many cases, police stop someone for alleged traffic violations and then end up arresting them for drunk or drugged driving after witnessing behavior or evidence that indicates a DUI was in process. However, law enforcement officers can’t just go around stopping vehicles randomly to see if drivers may be operating them under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If an officer pulls you over, they must have observed evidence of a violation or have a reasonable suspicion that there is a traffic violation or crime occurring. Demonstrating that an officer pulled you over for any other reason, such as profiling, may help in your defense.

Note, however, that sobriety checkpoints are allowed in the state. Law enforcement teams can stop people at these checkpoints without any reasonable belief that a violation is occurring.

Challenging the Breathalyzer Test

Another common defense in DUI cases is challenging the breathalyzer test. These field tests are not infallible, and neither are the individuals administering them. If you can demonstrate that the test was faulty or how it was administered didn’t follow protocol, you may have a solid way of challenging the charges against you.

Your criminal defense attorney will investigate whether any facts of your case lead to the breathalyzer test being challenged. Some details that can help with this include:

  • The breathalyzer was not properly maintained. Your attorney may be able to subpoena records regarding how the machine was maintained to demonstrate that it might not have been in proper working order.
  • The breathalyzer test was not administered properly. Video evidence, law enforcement reports, and witness testimony might help show that police officers didn’t follow protocol when administering the test. For example, police must observe someone for a certain amount of time before they request the individual submit to a breathalyzer test.
  • There were factors that might impact the test results. Some physical conditions or the use of mouthwash or other products shortly before a breathalyzer test may skew the results. Your attorney can work with you to build a case backed by evidence if this might be the case.

Demonstrating the Case or Evidence was Mishandled

Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and others involved in the criminal justice system must always operate according to the state’s laws. When cases or evidence are mishandled, attorneys may be able to get charges dismissed.

This is one reason it’s important to call an experienced attorney as soon as you know you are facing DUI or OUI charges in the state. Your attorney steps in immediately to begin protecting your rights and reviewing these details to see if they can leverage them for your defense.

Challenging the Facts of the Case

Another way to defend against DUI charges is to challenge the basic facts of the case. The exact time and location law enforcement observed your behavior, the exact nature of that behavior, and whether there were any mitigating factors can all be important in your defense.

Some specific options include:

  • Pointing out inconsistencies or inaccuracies in police reports or witness testimonies
  • Bringing in witnesses or experts who can testify to facts that are counter to the facts presented by the prosecution
  • Calling into question the character or reliability of a witness

Work With a Criminal Defense Attorney Experienced With DUI/OUI Cases

Not every defense option will work in every case, and understanding which strategy might be best for your situation is important. An experienced DUI defense attorney can provide guidance about your defense strategy.

They can also help you understand all of your options in facing an OUI charge. Depending on the evidence available and whether you’ve dealt with a charge in the past, for example, your attorney might recommend seeking a plea bargain. If there is a potential for alternative sentencing that keeps you out of jail, your attorney can explain the pros and cons of such an option.

If you do decide to fight the charges, your attorney works to protect your rights and support the most effective defense possible. That can include:

  • Gathering and reviewing evidence, such as police reports; photographs and videos of activity just before, during, and after the arrest; and information about any breathalyzer or chemical test results relevant to the arrest
  • Identifying, subpoenaing, and questioning witnesses to get the full story of your arrest
  • Analyzing the facts of the case to identify weaknesses for the prosecution and developing a strategy to leverage them for your defense
  • Negotiating with the prosecution regarding the case, especially if a plea bargain is a possibility
  • Presenting your defense case in court

If you’re facing a DUI/OUI charge in Massachusetts and want to do so with an experienced legal team at your back, give Contant Law a call at 617-221-8221.