Massachusetts OUI Self Representation

Many people who receive a driving under the influence (DUI) or operating under the influence (OUI) charge, as it is known in Massachusetts, assume that the offense is relatively simple and thus believe they should represent themselves when the case comes to court. Each individual is entitled to do so. However, below are several facts to consider before making a decision.

Certain attorneys specialize in drunk driving defense. They understand the intricacies of the law and the administration of the court. Although you may have read up on issues such as blood alcohol content (BAC) levels and other requirements of the law, presenting your case in court is quite different and only an experienced OUI defense attorney is capable of effectively navigating the process and identifying defense opportunities.

Three things about OUI/DUI you wish you had known sooner

If you’ve been pulled over and charged with OUI in Massachusetts, there are three things about Massachusetts OUI/DUI laws that you’ll wish you’d known sooner.
Let’s start with some definitions. OUI means “operating under the influence” of alcohol, while DUI means “driving under the influence” of alcohol. While many states refer to drunk driving arrests as DUIs, in Massachusetts, the term OUI is used for all such charges.

Things you should know:
1. The penalties for OUIs in Massachusetts are some of the most severe in the nation. You could receive a fine of $500-$5,000, jail time of up to 2 1/2 years, and have your license suspended. The penalties go up sharply for repeat offenses. For a second OUI, at least 30 days in jail is mandated, the fine could be $600-$10,000, and you could lose your license for two years.

Recording the Police with Your Smartphone – a Constitutional Right or Unlawful Wiretapping?

Posted by Michael Franklin

In the era of ubiquitous personal technology, it may seem that we have an unbridled right to use our smartphones to photograph or record anything and everything. We may particularly want to record the police to verify that they are serving and protecting the public and not violating individual rights. Be careful, even here in our great state of Massachusetts, the police can still lawfully charge and arrest you for recording them in certain circumstances.

Recently, a woman was charged with unlawful wiretapping by the Springfield police for recording her arrest. The Springfield Republican reported that a 24 year-old woman, Karen Dziewit, was arrested for disorderly conduct and the police discovered in her possessions a smartphone with the audio recorder activated. When she was arrested, the police claim that Ms. Dziewit had yelled that she was recording the entire incident. Subsequently, the police further charged her with violating the Massachusetts law prohibiting wiretapping. In Massachusetts, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and/or a maximum $5000 fine to record any conversation without the consent of all parties. Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 272 § 99.

Massachusetts Holds Parents Accountable for “Social Hosting”

Posted by Michael Franklin

Are you aware of Massachusetts “social hosting” laws? Social hosting refers to providing alcohol or other illegal substances to a minor that is not your own child on your property or in an environment you control. Especially during graduation time, some parents reason if they provide alcohol at a party at their private residence in a safe environment, ensuring that minors do not drink and drive, they are not committing a crime. Massachusetts’ “Social Host” law says that they are. Consider the consequences and situations covered by this law.

Massachusetts Police and Field Sobriety Tests

By Michael Franklin

Massachusetts Field Sobriety Tests are used by law enforcement officers to determine whether someone may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are several tests that may be administered however three tests are commonly used:

1.    Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). The officer will ask the suspect to follow an object with his eyes. As the object is moved further to the side of the person, a jerking of the eyes called HGN will occur. HGN is more prominent in impaired persons.
2.    The walk and turn requires the suspect to walk a number of steps instructed by the officer, touching their heel to toe with each step. Impaired persons may do the wrong number of steps or may not be able to touch heel to toe.
3.    The one leg stand. An impaired person may not be able to keep their hands at their sides and may wobble more.