Articles Posted in OUI/Drunk Driving

So, it happened again? In a perfect world, we would all learn from our mistakes the first time…but it doesn’t always work that way. If you are facing charges for a second OUI offense in Massachusetts, you will need the help of a skilled OUI defense attorney to minimize the damage. While it is possible to fight a second OUI, it’s not easy, and it certainly isn’t something you want to attempt on your own. Read on for more information about second and subsequent OUI charges, and what options may be available to you.

Put simply, Massachusetts is hard on OUIs, and especially hard on second and subsequent OUIs. That being said, every case is unique. It’s possible that you have been unfairly accused, or that jail time and hefty fines aren’t the best remedy in your particular situation. If a serious alcohol problem is to blame, rather than sheer recklessness and disregard for the law, it’s possible that an alcohol treatment program is a preferable alternative to getting locked up. If you’ve been charged with an OUI, contact a Boston defense attorney today.

What Are the Penalties of a Second OUI Offense?

Every case is different, but the following penalties may apply if you are convicted of a second OUI:

  • Up to two-and-a-half years in jail
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • License suspension of up to three years
  • Required installation of an Ignition Interlock Device when driving privileges are restored

With the help of experienced legal counsel, you will likely avoid any extended jail time. If alcohol addiction is the culprit, you may have the option of a plea deal with an inpatient alcohol treatment and two years of probation. Although inpatient treatment still requires you to take time off work, it will likely only be a two-week program. And the reality is, if you need help, you need help.

Benefits of Fighting a Second OUI Charge

You may win, you may lose, but with a skilled lawyer by your side, your chances are dramatically improved. And the bottom line is, there are multiple benefits to fighting OUI charges, even for second and subsequent offenses. For example, if you plead guilty to a second offense, you will automatically lose your license for up to three years. That’s a long time to be without wheels. Further, a guilty plea removes your chances of getting a hardship license before your suspension is up. Basically, if you fight the charges and lose, you probably won’t be any worse off. And if you win? Then your record is clean, you avoid jail time, and you don’t have to pay fines. If you are facing OUI charges, contact a MA defense lawyer today.

Treatment is a good option, if it’s available. This is especially true if treatment helps you avoid getting a third offense. The stakes are much higher with a third offense. For starters, a third OUI conviction is a felony. Beyond that, you’ll spend a mandatory 150 days in jail, and you could be behind bars for up to five years. You’ll pay up to $15,000 in fines, and your license will be suspended for up to eight years. To sum it up – don’t get a third OUI offense. Continue reading

If you’ve been charged with operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI), there are multiple steps you can take to fight the charges. But you’ve got to act fast. It may seem easiest and most appealing to take a plea bargain, but once you’ve admitted guilt, your options are limited. If you want to “win” your OUI case, follow the steps below to improve your chances of reduced charges, a not guilty, or an outright dismissal.

Step One: Hire an Experienced OUI Trial Attorney

If the prosecution knows that your defense attorney is willing to go to trial, they are more likely to bend under pressure. Prosecuting attorneys know that a good trial attorney will fight tirelessly to protect a client; filing every possible motion available to them, challenging each and every piece of evidence, and calling on the best experts.

Step Two: What is the Evidence?

Solid evidence against you can be damning, but in a significant number of OUI cases, the evidence is less than compelling. In many situations, evidence such as breathalyzer results has to be thrown out for various reasons – inconclusive readings, the breathalyzer wasn’t calibrated, the officer wasn’t trained, or the reading was obtained during an illegal search. If hard evidence, such as a breathalyzer result, is thrown out, your chances of an outright dismissal increase dramatically.

Step Three: Was the Traffic Stop Legal?

If it can be shown that the officer lacked probable cause to stop your car in the first place, you might be home free. When this occurs, all evidence is generally thrown out. In any situation, the help of a skilled OUI defense attorney is crucial to a positive outcome. If you have been charged with OUI, or any other type of criminal offense, contact a Boston defense attorney today.

Do I Really Need an Attorney for an OUI?

Well, let’s see – if you want to avoid jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of your license, the answer is yes. You absolutely need an attorney, and a skilled one at that. Having an attorney doesn’t guarantee that your case will be dismissed, but it significantly increases your chances. Not to mention, OUI convictions aren’t taken lightly in Massachusetts. A first offense can carry fines of up to $5,000, license suspension of up to one year, and up to two-and-a-half years in jail. A second offense can cost you up to $10,000 in fines, and you might lose your license for two years.

Even if you aren’t facing a $10,000 fine and 30 months in jail, an OUI attorney can minimize the damage, helping you navigate the legal system and offering alternative options such as a hardship license. Further, an attorney can help you sentence bargain, reduce penalties and fines, and go to trial if necessary. Attempting to handle an OUI case on your own can spell disaster. This is especially true if aggravating circumstances were present at the time of the incident, such as when the defendant is under 21, was in possession of narcotics, was driving through a school zone, or was in possession of a weapon. Continue reading

Oh the weather outside is frightful…and so is the nationwide uptick in crime during the holiday season. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. Most holiday crimes are related to theft or excessive alcohol. Theft is often a result of a lack of funds for Christmas presents or the knowledge that cars and houses are loaded with aforementioned presents. And alcohol-related crimes are often a result of too much holiday partying. Either way, it’s good to know how to safeguard yourself this December. And if you happen to be the one facing criminal charges this holiday season, contact a skilled defense lawyer if you want to avoid jail time and hefty fines.

  • Shoplifting: The most obvious reason for an increase in shoplifting during the holiday season is lack of funds. We are under more pressure than ever to surround the Christmas tree with boxes and boxes of holiday cheer. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford such a display. For this reason, among others, some people turn to shoplifting around the holidays. Theft is never “right”, but we understand that even good people make mistakes, especially when financial stress is particularly overwhelming. If you are facing shoplifting charges, contact a Boston defense lawyer today.
  • Vehicle break-ins: For much the same reason as shoplifting increases during the holidays, so do vehicle break-ins. Car burglars expect to find gifts in cars. This is especially true of cars parked near shopping centers. Parking lot thieves will often watch for people who drop a load of purchases in their car and walk back to the store to finish shopping.
  • Porch theft: Since Amazon and other online shopping sites first allowed us to spend more time at home in our pajamas, porch theft has skyrocketed. Many of our online orders are delivered by UPS, FedEx, or the US Postal Service while we’re at work during the day. A stack of boxes by the front door and no car in the driveway makes you an easy target this holiday season. To prevent porch pirates from ruining your Christmas, have packages delivered to work or to the residence of a friend who is home during the day.
  • Drunk driving: The holiday season often feels like one never-ending party. Many families have two or more office parties, family parties, parties at friend’s houses, fundraisers, and other festive gatherings to attend during Christmas and New Years. Although good friends and good eggnog can make for a lovely evening, don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had a few drinks. To protect yourself and everyone else on the road, don’t drink and drive, and have a designated driver if you opt for too much cheer this holiday season. Beyond being dangerous, driving while intoxicated can impact your current or future employment, and even a first offense can cost you thousands of dollars. Not to mention, nobody wants to get an OUI for Christmas.

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If you had a few drinks, you shouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel…but you did. Now you see blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. What do you do? The good news is, you were stopped before anyone was seriously injured. The bad news is, you may be charged with operating under the influence (OUI). There are certain steps you can take during the stop and investigation to increase your chance of a more favorable outcome. Read on for information on what to do in this situation.

First things first, in the future, do not get behind the wheel if there’s any chance you might be impaired. In MA, a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above is over the legal limit for driving. For many people, two drinks can put them over the legal limit. If you have been charged with OUI, contact a Boston defense lawyer today.

Know that, if you get stopped, it is the law enforcement officer’s duty to investigate the scene. If he or she believes you may be intoxicated, a criminal investigation may ensue. As such, law enforcement will be gathering evidence from the start. Anything you say or do, along with physical evidence, such as a half-empty beer bottle, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol on your breath, can be used against you. Therefore, it is crucial that you do not provide more evidence than is absolutely necessary. While bloodshot eyes and an odor of alcohol are difficult to hide, you can refuse to answer certain questions.

As you may recall, I have been entrenched in the criminal justice system, as well as a few related arenas, for over 30 years. Over the last several years, I have been doing so as Of Counsel at Altman & Altman, LLP in Cambridge

The last few years, of course, have also brought me the noteworthy Ian Keefe as my associate here.

Yesterday, as I was busy turning 57 years old, I took some time, as we often do at birthdays, taking stock of the situation.

You know, there is a reason that the recognition on www.Expertise.com I recently got mentioned both Altman and me.

Altman & Altman, LLP is primarily a personal injury law firm. However, the Altmans realized the wisdom in having other attorneys, like me, around so that their clients can receive expert representation in other areas of law as well.

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Now, I know we are in the middle of a three part posting and I owe you the third part. I will post that third part tomorrow. Today, however, something that should be more urgently on your mind.

It could be a drunk driving charge. It could be an allegation of domestic abuse. It could even be an unexpected accusation of rape.

People generally do not venture out expecting to be making an involuntary stop at the local police department before they return home.

But it happens. Especially on holiday weekends.

So, you’d best think about it. When the criminal justice wheels start turning with you inside them, you just might find it harder to think clearly and come up with a plan.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Holiday Police Encounters

Over the holiday weekend of course, court is not open. Therefore, should you end up in police custody, you may have to stay there until Tuesday comes along.

“Isn’t there something I can do about that? I don’t want to spend the weekend in jail.”

 

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If the allegations against a certain 28-year-old Boston woman, hereinafter The “Defendant”, are true, she has demonstrated quite an example on what not to do.

According to the Boston Herald, law enforcement says that the Defendant was driving while intoxicated. This, in itself, is against the law and very unwise. But that’s not all.

The police also allege that the Defendant was driving at a very high rate of speed. Certainly, the speed was well over the speed limit. Also not a great idea. Still not all.

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If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) you are automatically subjected to stricter rules and regulations. You may also face harsher penalties for traffic violations and other offenses. If you are convicted of a ‘major violation’, whether you are driving your personal vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you will be immediately disqualified from operating a CMV for one year. One of the most common major violations for individuals with CDLs is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Contact a Boston DWI Lawyer Today.

Major violations for CDL Holders

CDL violations are classified as major or serious. Major violations are the greater of the two and result in immediate suspension, revocation, or lifetime loss of a driver’s CDL. Serious violations can also result in suspension, revocation, or lifetime loss, however, this typically only occurs on a cumulative basis. Examples of major violations include:

Being charged with a DUI, DWI, or OUI while operating your personal motor vehicle

Operating a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher

Refusing to submit to an alcohol test

The first major violation will result in a one-year suspension of your CDL. However, if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of the violation, you may receive a three-year suspension. The second major violation will result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL, but certain reinstatement options may be available after ten years.

Any Amount of Alcohol Can Affect Your Ability to Operate a CMV

It is also important to note that if you are caught driving a CMV with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, but less than 0.04%, you will be required to go out of service for at least 24 hours.

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999

You don’t have to be driving a commercial vehicle to lose your CDL for DWI. If you get charged with any kind of drug or alcohol offense, the charges will result in a suspension of your CDL as well. This suspension or revocation is above and beyond the standard fines and penalties for DWI charges. You may lose your personal driver’s license, spend time in jail, and face hefty fines. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 establishes the following guidelines for CDL holders:

If a driver’s personal vehicle license is suspended or revoked due to an alcohol violation, the CDL will be revoked for one year.

If a driver receives a second alcohol conviction, the CDL will be revoked for life.

If you have a CDL, with the exception of parking violations, all traffic violations must be reported to your employer within 30 days. In addition, depending on the severity of your charges and your history, criminal penalties may apply. Continue reading

A woman from Medway, Massachusetts is facing charges following her sixth arrest for driving under the influence. The charges will be brought against 52 year old Corinne Zaniboni in Framingham District Court on Wednesday in an effort to deem whether or not she is a danger to the public. Zaniboni was arrested on Thursday following an accident in Holliston where she crashed her vehicle into a stone wall. No one was injured during the incident.

Holliston Police responded to a call for a car accident around 8:30 PM Thursday night at the intersection of Garrett Way and Highland Street. Upon arriving on scene, responding officers found Corinne Zaniboni’s Toyota Camry had slammed into a brick wall along the side of the road. The report for the accident was filed by Holliston Police Sgt. Matthew J. Stone at Framingham District Court on Friday, a day after the accident had occurred.

According to the report provided by Sgt. Matthew Stone, Zaniboni had been attempting to reverse her vehicle when he arrived on scene. She repeatedly apologized to Sgt. Stone saying “I’m so sorry. So sorry about all of this.” It was at this time that Sgt. Stone detected alcohol on her breath and ordered Zaniboni to take several field sobriety tests. Sgt. Stone went on to say that Zaniboni had been slurring her speech during the encounter, and that she had failed each of the sobriety tests he administered. Zaniboni agreed to take a portable breathalyzer test that Sgt. Stone suggested after she had failed the other sobriety tests—she blew a .29 on the breathalyzer, which is well above the .08 legal limits. Portable breathalyzer tests, however, are inadmissible in court. Sgt. Stone has stated that upon arrival at the police department he administered a second breathalyzer test to Zaniboni in which she blew a .30.

The Executive Office of Public Safety recently released a report detailing their investigation into 39,000 breath test results. The investigation started when questions arose regarding the calibration of the breathalyzer machines. The report found that in fewer than 150 cases, breath test personnel should have deemed the results to be invalid. Because of human error, the values were found to be outside the acceptable tolerance range set by Massachusetts’ regulations.

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