Chatham OUI Defense Lawyer
Recent Drunk Driving Victory
Police Report: The arresting officer observed the defendant commit moving violations. The officer stopped the defendant and noticed bloodshot/glassy eyes and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. The defendant made an admission of drinking prior to driving. The defendant performed the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test, walk and turn test and the one leg stand field sobriety test and fails all tests performed. The defendant was subsequently arrested and failed the breathalyzer test with BAC readings of .124% and .126%.
VERDICT: NOT GUILTY AFTER TRIAL
An Aggressive, Tenacious Chatham Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer
My name is Attorney James Powderly and I am a Chatham based criminal defense lawyer with experience defending individuals charged with drunk driving / OUI / DUI / DWI throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. I am dedicated to defending and protecting the rights of Massachusetts residents who have been charged with OUI and drunk driving in Chatham, MA. Drunk driving is a serious offense that can result in both immediate penalties and long-term consequences. You could lose your driver’s license, be sent to jail and, because it is a criminal offense, even lose your job.
Because of the serious consequences of being found guilty of OUI, it is very important that you hire an aggressive and skilled trial lawyer to fight for your rights. OUI Lawyer James Powderly fights hard for the rights of his clients every day in courtrooms throughout the southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. He knows the law and he knows the system. Give Attorney James Powderly a call today to see how he can put his knowledge and experience to work fighting for your rights. James Powderly can make a difference in the outcome of your Chatham drunk driving case.
Massachusetts has very strict laws on drunk driving/ OUI, and the penalties seem to increase in severity year after year. The penalties listed below are legal guidelines and the range of maximum punishments. Most of the time, people are not sentenced to the maximum penalty, but it is possible. The judge typically issues a sentence based on the facts your case, the perceived risk and danger to society, the evidence against you, and many other factors. So it makes sense to get a consultation from an experienced Massachusetts OUI lawyer who can tell you the most likely scenario for how the case would play out for you, and what penalties you are likely to face if you are found guilty. Call me now for a free case assessment at (508) 343-0676.
Barnstable District Court Location
District Court Department
237 Rock Harbor Road
Orleans, MA 02653
Criminal Department: (508) 255-4700
Chatham, Massachusetts OUI Laws and Penalties
FIRST OFFENSE OUI (OUI-DWI)
- Period of incarceration up to 2.5 years
- Fine: $500-$5,000
- License loss for 1 year: work/School hardship license after 3 months and a general hardship after 6 months
SECOND OFFENSE OUI
- Period ofincarceration not less then 60 days up to 2.5 years
- Fine: $600-$10,000
- License loss for 2 years: work/School hardship license after 1 year and a general hardship after 18 months. Ignition Interlock device installed in your car for 2 years, after hardship eligibility, at your expense
THIRD OFFENSE OUI
- Felony Charge
- Period of incarceration not less then 180 days up to 5 years
- Fine: $1000-$15,000
- License loss for 8 years: work/School hardship license after 2 years and a general hardship after 4 years
- Commonwealth may seize your vehicle
FOURTH OFFENSE OUI
- Felony Charge
- Period of incarceration not less then 2 years up to 5 years
- Fine: $1500-$25,000
- License loss for 10 years: work/School hardship license after 5 years and a general hardship after 8 years
- Commonwealth may seize your vehicle.
FIFTH OFFENSE OUI
- Felony Charge
- Period of incarceration not less then 2.5 years up to 5 years
- Fine: $2000-$50,000
- License loss for life, no hardship provision
Massachusetts Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (OUI Detection)
HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS (HGN)
Nystagmus refers to the involuntary jerking of the pupil which occurs more rapidly with the consumption of enough alcohol. A Cape Cod officer may administer a field sobriety test to a drunk driving suspect which attempts to determine if nystagmus is present and to what degree. In Massachusetts courts however, the HGN test is generally not admissible as it relies on an underlying scientific principal thus requiring expert testimony.
ONE LEG STAND
A police officer learns to administer these field sobriety tests in accordance with the protocol and guidelines set forth in the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council and Massachusetts State Police training manual. This test requires the suspect to stand with feet together and arms down by side while the officer explains and demonstrates the test. The suspect is told to raise either foot of the ground 6 inches high with foot out straight and count one one thousand..two one thousand and to keep counting until told to stop. The officer is to count silently to 30 and then stop the test. The officer is looking for the following clues:
- Swaying while balancing
- Using arms to balance (more then 6 inches from their side)
- Putting foot down before 30
NINE-STEP WALK AND TURN
The suspect is told to stand with one foot in front of the other with arms down by side while officer explains and demonstrates the test. The officer is looking for the following clues:
- Starting before being told to do so
- Inability to keep balance in instructional phase
- Failure to touch heel to toe
- Stepping off line
- Using arms for balance
- Improper turn
- Incorrect number of steps
- Stops while walking
- Blood Alcohol Testing Defenses
There are two types of tests that law enforcement uses to determine a person’s blood alcohol level. Blood alcohol can be measured by a person’s breath and/or blood. Certain factors such as gender, amount of alcohol consumed, weight, type of alcohol consumed, and food consumption can directly impact the results of a blood alcohol test.
Breath Alcohol Testing – During a breath alcohol test, the person blows into an instrument such as the Intoxilyzer. A person’s breath alcohol concentration is believed to be related to their blood alcohol concentration. By measuring a person’s breath alcohol concentration, law enforcement can figure out his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Massachusetts adopted 0.08% as the standard for impairment. This means there is 0.08 grams of alcohol present per 100 milliliters of blood.
Blood Alcohol Testing – Through a blood alcohol test, a person’s blood alcohol content can be directly determined. Blood testing is the most accurate way to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration. During a blood alcohol test, blood is drawn from a person’s arm, and then it is analyzed. If the blood test reveals the person’s blood alcohol concentration to be 0.08% or greater, that person is considered intoxicated.
Some but not all police departments use cameras to videotape suspects at various stages of the OUI investigation process. Patrol cars can come equipped with a dashboard mounted camera which could provide real time evidence as to the stopping of the OUI suspects vehicle, the field sobriety tests being performed and the demeanor, coordination and speech of the OUI suspect. Equally important it can provide evidence as to the demeanor and activity of the police officer at the time of the investigation. The police station booking room is another place that videotape evidence can be obtained from. A drunk driving suspect on video at the station who is not swaying, stumbling or being belligerent can go a long way for a not guilty at an OUI trial when the officer wrote in his police report that only 10 minutes earlier the OUI suspect was exhibiting all of those signs on the side of the road.
The prosecutor has a duty to preserve videotape evidence if it contains exculpatory evidence. Failing to do so could be grounds for suppression of evidence or even a dismissal of an OUI case in certain circumstances.
After a police officer arrests a suspect and charges them with a crime, the officer will write a police report which is a narrative of the events that took place. In a drunk driving arrest, the officer will typically write what he observed that led him to the conclusion the suspect was operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. This generally will include the vehicle in motion, the interaction with the suspect after the initial traffic stop, the field sobriety tests and any other observations of the suspect’s appearance and/or demeanor.
The police report itself is generally not admissible at a drunk driving trial but a skilled Chatham Drunk Driving lawyer will use the police report to impeach (contradict) the officer on various issues at trial.
Hospital records come into play at an OUI trial generally where there is a car accident and the suspect was transported to the hospital. These records may be beneficial to the prosecutor, to the defense, or to both sides depending on what is contained. Treating physicians, nurses and staff may documents observations that could be helpful to the defense. For instance, a trained nurse making no reference to alcohol or intoxication for the patient is extremely helpful when the police officer is saying the suspect smelled of alcohol and was highly intoxicated at the scene of the accident. Also important are the results of any chemical tests that were performed for the presence of alcohol and/or drugs. Blood tests taken for treatment of the patient may show the persons blood alcohol level and go be used against him if over the limit or for him if below the limit. Blood tests present extremely complex issues in an OUI case and a skilled Chatham defense lawyer would help a defendant who is accused of drunk driving and is dealing with evidence of BAC by a blood draw.
Any advice on this website is general in nature and not designed for the specific facts of a given drunk driving or criminal charge. The situations in each particular case can involve very different laws, facts, penalties and procedures. You should always obtain legal representation and advice from a competent criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the facts unique to your specific case.
You should also bear in mind that the laws and legal procedures discussed on this website may have changed as a result of legislative enactments or changes in Department of Motor Vehicles license suspension rules, policies or procedures.