Quincy DUI Lawyer
In Quincy MA, OUI/DUI is one of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state courts and typically prosecuted in district court. Massachusetts has some of the most stringent DUI laws in the country, with the courts and Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) imposing harsher penalties for subsequent offenses. While jail is unlikely for first offense OUI/DUI, a conviction will result in probation, significant fines and fees, required attendance at alcohol education classes, and a driver’s license suspension / revocation.
If you are in Quincy, MA, and facing OUI/DUI charges, contact our knowledgeable and experienced Quincy DUI lawyers at Riccio Law. We will guide you through the complex legal process and aggressively defend your rights. We have successfully handled OUI cases in Quincy and all throughout the Commonwealth, including charges involving failed breathalyzer tests and erratic operation. With an in-depth knowledge of the court process and Massachusetts OUI laws, Riccio Law employs the best defense strategies with the goal of winning your case at trial.
Quincy MA OUI/DUI Laws
For an individual to be convicted of OUI/DUI in Massachusetts, the prosecution must prove the defendant 1) operated a motor vehicle on a public way and their ability to operate the vehicle safely was impaired due to the consumption of alcohol and/or other intoxicating substances, or 2) operated a motor vehicle on a public way with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.
Although the legal BAC limit of .08% applies to all motorists in the Commonwealth, individuals under the age of 21 face administrative penalties from the RMV if they have a BAC of 0.02% or higher. For commercial vehicle drivers, a BAC of 0.04% or greater may jeopardize their CDL license.
While you should be respectful to the police, you are not required to participate in the Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s), answer the officer’s questions, or submit to the breathalyzer. However, Massachusetts is an implied consent state meaning if you are arrested for OUI/DUI in the Commonwealth you are deemed to have consented to a chemical test / the breathalyzer. Although it is not a crime to refuse the breathalyzer in Massachusetts, there is an administrative penalty in the form of a license suspension for refusing to take it. However, refusing to do field sobriety tests and/or the breathalyzer cannot be used as evidence against you during trial.
Individuals charged with first offense OUI that refuse the breath test will have their Massachusetts driver’s license or driving privileges in the state suspended for 180 days. The license suspension for a breath test refusal increases with each subsequent offense. An individual’s license will be suspended for thirty (30) days if he/she submits to the breath test and their BAC is .08% or greater.
OUI/DUI Penalties in Quincy
In Massachusetts, the penalties for an OUI conviction increase with each subsequent offense. Generally, defendants charged with first offense OUI/DUI have an opportunity to avoid a conviction by admitting to sufficient facts (aka “CWOF”) in a 24D disposition / plea agreement pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 90, Section 24D. In some cases, defendants charged with second offense OUI/DUI may also be eligible for an alternative disposition.
Potential penalties for an OUI/DUI conviction include:
First offense OUI/DUI in Quincy
- License suspension of up to 1 year. Eligibility for hardship license after 90 days.
- A jail / house of correction sentence of up to 2.5 years or probation.
- Fines ranging between $500 to $5000.
- 24D plea deal / alternative disposition:
- 1-year of supervised probation.
- Attend & complete alcohol education program (24D Program).
- License suspension between 45-90 days. Eligibility for hardship
license upon proof of enrollment in 24D Program.
- Probation fees ranging from $600-$780 plus additional fines and
costs associated with the 24D Program.
Second offense OUI/DUI in Quincy
- A jail/house of correction sentence ranging from 60 days to 2.5 years
- Alternative Disposition:
- 2 years supervised probation
- Attend a 14-day inpatient alcohol treatment program.
- License suspension of up to 2 years. Installation of Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Quincy Third offense OUI/DUI
- Six months – 2.5 years in jail/house of correction or 2.5 years – 5 years state prison. Must serve a minimum mandatory of 150 days before becoming eligible for release.
- A license suspension of up to 8 years.
- Installation of Ignition Interlock Device for additional 2 years after license reinstated.
- Eligible for hardship license after two years.
- Fines between $1,000 and 15,000.
Fourth offense OUI/DUI in Quincy
- License suspension of up to 10 years. Eligibility for hardship license with installation of an IID after 5 years.
- Fines between $1,500 and 25,000.
- Up to 2.5 years in jail/house of correction or up to 5 years state prison. Must serve at least one year before becoming eligible for release.
Possible Defenses to OUI/DUI charges
To obtain a conviction for OUI/DUI, the prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: The government must prove the defendant:
- Operated a motor vehicle,
- on a public way,
- with a BAC of .08% or greater or while impaired by alcohol or other intoxicating substances.
While the first two elements are not often contested at trial, an experienced Quincy DUI lawyer will focus on the lack of evidence surrounding the third element: impairment. When there is limited evidence of erratic driving or traffic violations, an effective defense will highlight the fact that the defendant did not have issues driving their car. Although the prosecution heavily relies on evidence of the field sobriety tests at trial, a skilled OUI defense attorney can mitigate the effectiveness and impact of that evidence.
Quincy DUI Law FAQ’s
Generally, police are looking for operators committing motor vehicle violations and the resulting traffic stops for those infractions often lead to OUI/DUI charges if there is additional evidence of alcohol consumption. Observations of erratic driving, swerving, or multiple instances of crossing over lines or into other lanes often result in motor vehicle stops for suspicion of operating under the influence (OUI/DUI), particularly when late at night or in the early morning hours.
In addition to observations of traffic violations, OUI/DUI charges often result after police respond to the scene of a motor vehicle accident and make observations of alcohol consumption by an operator on scene.
Ask family, friends, and/or trusted acquaintances if they know of an experienced Quincy DUI lawyer. Additionally, search the internet and social media. You should speak to and meet with as many attorneys as necessary until you find one that is experienced and knowledgeable, willing to go to trial, and most importantly, someone you trust. You should look for a lawyer that answers your questions, is confident, but does not make any guarantees.
The police officer is conducting the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test- one of the three standardized field sobriety tests administered. Horizontal gaze nystagmus refers to the involuntary jerking of the eyes while following the object. Although considered the most reliable of the standardized field sobriety tests, evidence related to the HGN test is usually not admissible at trial in Massachusetts due to police officers (who administered the HGN test) lack of medical credentials.
While the particulars of an OUI defense in Quincy depend on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case, most defenses against OUI/DUI charges in Quincy, MA focus on the evidence related to intoxication / impairment, or lack thereof.
In cases where a defendant took the breathalyzer and registered above the .08% legal limit, it is crucial to try and get the breath test evidence suppressed. While defenses may still be available, options are limited when there is admissible breath test evidence and the results are significantly higher than the legal limit. There may be defenses related to the elements of operation and public way, however those elements are often conceded at trial.
In cases that do not involve the breathalyzer, the prosecution must prove the defendant (1) operated a motor vehicle (2) on a public way (3) while under the influence of alcohol. To establish the defendant was “under the influence,” the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. In these cases, the prosecution often introduces evidence of motor vehicle violations, observations of the defendant by police, and the officer’s opinion as to the defendant’s alleged intoxication. While sufficient to obtain a guilty verdict in Massachusetts, prosecutions limited to the testimony of the police, with nothing more, can be won at trial.
Contact an OUI/DUI Lawyer in Quincy, MA
Massachusetts imposes harsh penalties for OUI/DUI convictions, particularly after the enactment of Melanie’s Law in the early 2000’s. Accordingly, it is crucial to seek the help of a skilled and experienced OUI/DUI defense lawyer to defend your rights and guide you through the legal process. At Riccio Law, we represent individuals in OUI/DUI cases all throughout Massachusetts and use creative defense strategies to obtain the best possible outcome. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation and to learn more about our services.