OUI convictions not only result in significant penalties, but they can also negatively impact a person’s reputation and relationships. Simply because a person is accused of OUI does not mean they will be found guilty, however, as there are often multiple defenses that they can set forth to avoid a conviction. If you were arrested for OUI, it is in your best interest to retain a lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Gary Pacella of the Pacella Law, P.C. is a skilled New Bedford OUI defense lawyer who has ample experience advocating for people charged with driving under the influence, and if he represents you, he will fight tirelessly to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he aids people in criminal matters in New Bedford and Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham.Massachusetts OUI Laws
Under Massachusetts law, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle in a public place with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher or while under the influence. A motorist will be deemed under the influence if their ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired by the consumption of alcohol, narcotic drugs, stimulants, or depressants. Notably, the prosecution does not have to show that an OUI defendant drove while under the influence to convict them of OUI. Instead, they merely have to show that the defendant intentionally performed any act or used any electrical or mechanical agency that would set the vehicle in motion. In other words, a person that started a car while intoxicated could be charged with OUI.
The penalties imposed on people convicted of OUI vary depending on multiple factors. First-time offenders are often eligible for probation, which can last up to two years. Their license will be suspended for 45 to 90 days unless they are under the age of 21, and they will have to complete an alcohol education course. They may have to enter substance abuse treatment as well. Second-time offenders may be eligible for probation, but only if their first OUI conviction was more than ten years before the date of the offense out of which their current conviction arose.
First and second-time offenders not eligible for probation, and third-time offenders may face up to two and a half years in prison. Second-time offenders face a mandatory minimum sentence of sixty days, while third-time offenders face a mandatory sentence of one hundred and eighty days. The penalties increase for fourth and fifth-time offenders. People convicted of OUI with a child in their vehicle face increased penalties as well.OUI Defense
To demonstrate an OUI defendant’s guilt, the prosecution must establish each element of the underlying offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal defendants do not bear a burden of proof, however. In many cases, though, it is beneficial to offer a defense. For example, in cases where a person’s charges arose out of their BAC, the prosecution must prove that the chemical test that produced the BAC level was correctly administered. If a test was administered improperly, or the prosecution cannot prove that the machine used to conduct the test was calibrated correctly, an OUI defendant can argue that the test results are unreliable and should be precluded from evidence.
Additionally, if an OUI arrest arose out of a traffic stop, the prosecution must establish that the arresting officer held a reasonable suspicion that the defendant violated the law before the stop. In other words, if the police lacked just cause for detaining a defendant, the stop may constitute a violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable stops and searches, and the prosecution may be prohibited from using any information obtained during the stop against the defendant at trial.Meet With an Experienced New Bedford OUI Defense Attorney
An OUI conviction can diminish your rights and cause you to incur substantial fines. If you are charged with an OUI in New Bedford, it is advisable to meet with an experienced lawyer to discuss your options for pursuing a favorable outcome. Gary Pacella is a seasoned New Bedford criminal defense attorney with the skills and experience needed to help you mount a persuasive defense, and if you engage his services, he will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he regularly represents people charged with OUI in New Bedford and in Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham. You can contact Mr. Pacella at 508-525-4147 or through the form online to set up a confidential and free conference.