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.
Do I Have to Agree to the Roadside Tests?
You must provide information such as your driver’s license and registration, and your name. If the officer asks you to exit your vehicle, you must obey. However, you do not have to perform roadside tests. If you are requested to do so, politely decline – roadside tests can be difficult for people who are completely sober. Even worse, results are quite subjective. You could be below the legal limit but mess up on a roadside test and find yourself facing OUI charges. Protect yourself and politely decline. Emphasis on politely. If you refuse the roadside tests, you will likely be arrested. But the reality is, if you are above the legal limit, you will probably be arrested anyway.
Should I Take the Breathalyzer?
This one is a bit more complicated. If you refuse the breathalyzer, you will receive an automatic license suspension of six months. However, if there are no other aggravating circumstances associated with your arrest – no accident, injuries, or violent behavior – the chance of your case being dismissed for lack of evidence is significantly improved if you didn’t submit to a breathalyzer. If you are found not guilty, your license will likely be reinstated as well. If you have been charged with OUI, contact a Boston defense attorney today.
Should I Ask for a Lawyer?
You are entitled to a lawyer, but not until after your arrest. Once you have been arrested, immediately – and politely – ask for a lawyer. Do not engage in conversation with the officer(s) on the way to the hospital or police station, even if they seem friendly. Remember, anything you say can – and probably will – be used against you.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier OUI Defense Law Firm
If you have been charged with OUI, the skilled defense team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our attorneys have fought OUI charges for countless clients, and we have an impressive track record of getting charges reduced or dismissed entirely. We will make sure you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. If you are facing any type of criminal charge, we are here to help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.