Four thousand people are arrested every day in the United States for driving under the influence. In the year 2011 alone, that number reached over 1.2 million drivers.
While no one wants to be in the position of going to court for driving under the influence, many Americans find themselves there, whether they’re guilty or not. If you are one of the million people convicted this year, you’re not alone, and there is hope.
Almost a quarter of the time, those pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), operating under the influence (OUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are between the ages of 21 to 25 years old. This means that for many, they face a first time offense. Penalties can change depending on the number of DUIs you are charged with.
If you find yourself charged with a first time offense, we will go over what you need to expect from court, possible outcomes from court, and the actions you should take with a lawyer.
Hiring a Lawyer
If you find yourself facing a court appearance for driving under the influence for the first time, or if you’ve been convicted before, hiring a criminal attorney is the right first step. A lawyer will work with you to investigate your options. Your lawyer will work hard to examine the following:
- Were you the person driving?
- Were all sobriety tests (breath and blood alcohol levels) administered in accordance with state laws?
- Did police find probable cause to pull you over?
- Did a substantial amount of time pass between when you were driving and when they tested your blood alcohol level?
Going to Court
No matter what crime you are appearing in court for, you are innocent until proven guilty. Drunk driving cases are no different. However, in drunk driving cases it is often difficult for the government to prove its case.
Facing DUI Penalties in Massachusetts
If you are convicted of your first DUI offense, the minimum and maximum penalties and fines will differ from state to state. Here in Massachusetts, the penalty for conviction can change from situation to situation, but here are some of the consequences you may face:
- One year driving probation
- 45-90-day license suspension
- 16-week drug and alcohol education class
- $500-$5,000 penalty
- Maximum jail time of 30 months
Taking the Next Step
Do you have a court date to appear in front of a judge for a DUI, OUI, or DWI? Choose a qualified Massachusetts lawyer who is also familiar with the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is a separate entity from the criminal justice system.
Do not just plead guilty to DUI cases. Talk to a lawyer to understand your options so you can continue to operate with a license and minimize penalties in court.