Many people in Massachusetts think they can handle an OUI charge without a lawyer. They don’t think they should have been stopped, they don’t think they were driving erratically, or they have some other reason for challenging the arrest. They don’t see it as a problem to go to court and tell their side of the story.
But often, when these people do go to court and offer to represent themselves, the judge will advise them against proceeding without an attorney. The charge of OUI/DUI is serious and can carry heavy penalties.
If you have been stopped for a possible OUI, you’ve probably already made one mistake. It’s easy to make another. You can easily misread the police report or underestimate how strong the case is against you. You won’t know what to look for in the report, and you won’t know all the possible defenses that can be used by a lawyer trained in OUI/DUI cases.
Police reports tend to make the motorist sound impaired and drunk. The officer will recount your failing of the field sobriety tests, your erratic driving, your inaudible or incoherent speech, and/or your lack of focus. If you were given a breathalyzer test, the results would also have been included.
What you need to know is that this report can be challenged, if you know what to look for and how to go about making that challenge. That’s where the attorney comes in. He or she knows what’s in the police training manual, how the OUI tests should be conducted, how the results could be interpreted, and what circumstances should be considered.
There are defenses for how you appeared to act. There are defenses for a higher blood alcohol content and for erratic driving. There are even defenses for your being stopped in the first place.
Police officers are trained to handle investigations in a certain way. Any deviation from official policy can become a point of contention for you. You probably don’t know those policies, as well as an experienced attorney, would.
There are many motions and legal arguments that can be made in your defense and legal arguments presented to exclude potentially damaging evidence.
A qualified attorney may be able to prevent charges before they are issued against you. You can request a medical investigation and get favorable evidence. An attorney can negotiate a lesser plea or charge if necessary.
If you are considering representing yourself in an OUI/DUI case, keep in mind you could be facing a suspension or loss of license, and in complex cases involving injury or property damage, even more, including incarceration.
Many people have decided to handle an OUI charge without a lawyer and later said they regretted that decision. Given all that is at stake in these cases, an attorney would have been a better decision for them and is a better decision for you.
If you are facing an OUI charge or have any questions related to OUI/DUI, call the offices of Eden Rafferty to talk with one of our attorneys experienced in Massachusetts OUI/DUI laws. Get the help you need before it’s too late.