Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Holiday Blues and OUI/DWI Arrests

The holiday season is a time for parties and celebrations with family or friends. One sure way to dampen the holiday spirit is for you to be charged or accused of an OUI/DWI (operating under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated). This will zap the jolly out of the holiday season for you and the friend or family member who has to stop by the police station and get you out of jail. An OUI/DWI arrest is a real party pooper for everyone involved. Your first phone call should be to a criminal defense attorney who can provide you with legal advice and solutions to lessen your charges.

Often times OUI/DWI arrests increase during the holiday season as many law enforcement agencies are on high alert to find impaired drivers who are making the holiday travel season unsafe. The warning signs that may signal to a police officer that you are drinking and driving may include:

  • Driving too fast (speeding)

  • Driving too slow

  • Failing to stop at a stoplight or stopsign

  • Failing to yield

  • Driving erratically

  • Swerving and crossing lanes

Police officers can stop any motorist when they feel there is reasonable suspicion of driving while impaired or involvement in criminal activity. During the holiday season, police officers may conduct DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are often referred to as a DUI roadblock or a sobriety checkpoint. DUI checkpoints are specific locales or streets by which police officers set up a roadblock to check motorists for signs of alcohol or drug usage.

DUI checkpoints are designed to ensure that the roads are safe for motorists and free of drunk drivers. While the practice is common, it is not legal in every state. However, Massachusetts is one of the states that makes it lawful to conduct DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints in the Commonwealth can be performed throughout the year.

After a police officer suspects you of operating a vehicle while impaired or under the influence of alcohol, he or she will usually ask you to perform a series of tests called field sobriety tests. These tests may include standing on one leg, walking a straight line, or speaking a few sentences to test abnormalities in your speech patterns. The police officer will check your eyes to determine pupil dilation.

If you fail the field sobriety tests, the officer will probably take you to the police station and ask you to participate in chemical blood alcohol level tests. These tests can be conducted by testing your blood, urine, or breath (breathalyzer). If you test above a .08% blood alcohol level, you will be charged with an OUI/DWI.

You can refuse to take a chemical blood alcohol level test. Your refusal can work against you sometimes, as a refusal of the test can invoke an implied consent statute. This automatically causes a suspension of your driver's license for a period of time.

In Massachusetts, a refusal to take a chemical blood alcohol level test will result in a six-month automatic license suspension. However, a refusal cannot be used to insinuate guilt in an OUI/DWI case. When you refuse to submit to a chemical blood alcohol level test after three prior DUI offenses, your license will be suspended for life.

If you have been accused or charged with an OUI/DWI, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail time, license suspension, and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.