How do I find a qualified attorney to handle an OUI case?

The key qualification for an OUI or DWI case is a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling drunk driving cases. There are many qualified attorneys who can be found online. Another way is to seek a referral from a friend, family member or trust advisor who has been through this type of case and may know the right attorney to call. Contant Law specializes in OUI/DWI cases.

Can I change my attorney if I am not satisfied with his or her services?

Yes, you can change attorneys if you are not satisfied. You have the right to a lawyer of your own choosing. You may hire and fire your attorney as you wish.

Can an attorney help me or my family member get out of jail immediately?

Unfortunately, most of these arrests happen late at night. While an attorney may be able to assist you in getting the bail commissioner to decide on a lower bail, logistically you may not have time to find an attorney and have them be able to appear at the police station before those decisions get made.

However, having an attorney at your first court appearance in essential. Oftentimes, the attorney can negotiate for certain terms of release that the average person might not even think to ask for. This is particularly helpful in cases where the judge may be inclined to set a high bail against the person based upon their record, or other circumstances. Many times, a good attorney will be able to negotiate lower bail or have the person submit to certain conditions of release that assures they will report to court when their time is due.

What is the best way to handle an OUI/DWI arrest which takes place outside of business hours?

Knowing that most OUI/DWI arrests occur late at night, some attorneys will have emergency telephone numbers you can call. However, many times, you may not be able to get someone to answer your call late at night. If you are able to get an attorney on the telephone at the time of your arrest, they can provide you with valuable information and advice on what to do and what not to do which should ultimately help your case.

What is the best way that I can help a loved one when they are arrested for an OUI/DWI?

The best way to help your family or loved ones is to make sure that they are working with a qualified attorney who can help guide them through the process. Oftentimes, there is not a lot else you can do, except to provide a good level of support to them. These matters do take time. There are very few cases that are over in a day. These cases usually take months, and this can be a very stressful time for your loved ones. Once a qualified attorney is in place, the best thing you can do is be there to support the individual as they go through the process.

Is there a typical OUI client that you see in your state?

My clients run the gamut. I see young people certainly, usually in their early 20s. But I have also seen teenagers and clients in their 50s and 60s, who maybe had too much to drink at the office Christmas party or backyard cookout and found themselves in an unusual situation.

What are the common misconceptions that people have about an OUI arrest?

Almost all people automatically think that they have no way out. They feel guilty and are anxious to do something to resolve the case very quickly just to move on. However, oftentimes there are many things that were not done correctly by the police, either in the initial stop or the field sobriety tests, or even administering the breathalyzer test, as well as some other procedural things they may have done incorrectly at the time of arrest. In many cases we can mount a successful defense. It depends on the circumstances of each case.

How public is the knowledge of OUI charges in Massachusetts?

If the defendant is a juvenile (under the age of 18), the arrest is completely private, and no one other than the police, courts and lawyers involved in the case would have access to the identifying information. If they are an adult, some cities and towns have what is called a police blotter in the local paper, which may make it a little more public. But generally, most employers and friends do not know of an OUI arrest, unless they have been told by the person arrested. It is, however, public record, so if anyone went down to the court house to see whether or not you have been arrested, they certainly could find out because, unless you are a juvenile, it is public record. But they would have to know to go look and also know which court house to go to. There are also some websites that accumulate data from public records and for a fee a person might be able to find out about the arrest.

What are some common mistakes that are detrimental to an OUI case?

Once someone has been pulled over by the police, the biggest mistake they can make is opening their mouth. Quite frankly, that is at any stage of the proceedings. Many people, particularly when they are about to be arrested, or even after they have been arrested, try to talk their way out of it. They say all the wrong things, often either putting themselves in a position where it is a clear lie as to how many drinks they have had, or not realizing that the police are noting down everything they are saying, including the manner in which they are speaking. If they are speaking with a heavy thick tongue and slurred speech, the police are writing that down and consider this evidence of intoxication. Or if the person is rambling or belligerent, this can be evidence of intoxication. So, the best thing to do is really just keep your mouth shut, ask for a lawyer and get your way through the process.

Another big mistake they can make is taking the field sobriety tests offered when you are first pulled over. Many people think they can do the field sobriety tests. This is a huge mistake as well, because the police officer is noting everything that you do, every little mis-step, and there are a lot of things they are looking for. The police will try to build their case with everything you do and say.

Another enormous mistake is taking the breathalyzer test. This is because it offers an objective standard from a machine that jurors can see. Moreover, in Massachusetts, a valid breath test of above .08 is a means of finding a person guilty, as long as the test meets the basic criteria for its admission in court.

Unless the person is falling-down drunk and sloppy, many OUI cases can be won. Both of these tests only help the state prove its case against you and limit your chances of success. Further, the police and prosecutors never get to tell the jury hearing the case that you refused these tests. So, your refusal to do these tests cannot be used against you at trial. I think what Nancy Reagan said is best, “Just say no” when asked to do any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests.

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