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Rights of People Stopped for OUI
Criminal Lawyer Helping People Charged With OUI in New Bedford Protect Their Rights
People pulled over for suspicion of OUI often panic, worrying that they may implicate themselves during the investigation, which will lead to criminal charges. Parties detained by the police are protected by state and federal law, however, and it is important for people to understand their rights so they can avoid taking actions that may affect them adversely. If you are interested in learning more about the rights of people stopped for OUI, it is smart to meet with an attorney. Attorney Gary Pacella of the Law Office of Gary Pacella is a capable New Bedford OUI defense lawyer, and if you are charged with OUI, he can inform you of what measures you can take to protect your interest and assist you in formulating a compelling defense. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he regularly defends people in criminal proceedings in New Bedford as well as in Wareham, Fall River, and Fairhaven.
Rights of People Stopped for OUI
When you are stopped for suspected OUI in Massachusetts, it is crucial to be aware of your rights. First, the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights protect people from self-incrimination. In layperson’s terms, this means that you have the right to remain silent and do not have to respond to any questions other than to provide basic information.
Additionally, you have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are typically voluntary and are often used by law enforcement to gather evidence against you. You can decline to participate in these tests without legal consequences.
You also have the right to refuse a breath test at the scene. While refusing a breath test can result in a civil penalty, such as a driver’s license suspension, it may prevent the prosecution from having immediate evidence of your blood alcohol content. It’s important to note that this is different from the chemical test administered after a lawful arrest. Massachusetts has an implied consent law, which means that if you are lawfully arrested for OUI, you are required to take a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer or blood test, to determine your BAC. Refusing this test can lead to an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a period of time.
Rights of People Charged With OUI
If you are placed under arrest and subjected to custodial interrogation, law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. You have the right to request an attorney before deciding whether to take a chemical test. However, this request may not necessarily delay the administration of the test.
In the event that you are charged with OUI in Massachusetts, you have the right to be presumed innocent until you are proven guilty. In Massachusetts, the prosecution must prove a criminal defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof and generally means that the evidence weighs so heavily in favor of the defendant’s guilt that when confrontable with the evidence, a reasonable person could not harbor any doubt that the defendant committed the crime in question. Conversely, criminal defendants do not have to prove their innocence or offer any evidence in their defense at trial.
The prosecution must also establish that prior to the stop that led to your charges, the arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion that you violated the law. If the officer lacked adequate grounds for effectuating the stop, you may be able to argue that it violated your right against unreasonable stops and searches. If the court agrees, it may bar the prosecution from using any evidence obtained during the stop against you during your trial.
Talk to a Skilled New Bedford OUI Defense Attorney
Massachusetts’ OUI laws are complex, and the consequences of an OUI conviction are significant. As such, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney if you are arrested for OUI in Bedford. Gary Pacella is a skilled New Bedford criminal defense attorney who can inform you of the rights of people stopped for OUI and help you seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he frequently defends people charged with OUI in New Bedford and in Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham. You can reach Mr. Pacella at 508-525-4147 or via the online form to set up a confidential and free meeting.
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