There is no question that the suffering and loss caused by drunk driving accidents is a heartache no family should have to endure. To this end, over the past decades, lawmakers have heard the voices of organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and tightened laws for alcohol-related driving offenses.
If you have recently been arrested for operating under the influence, you understand that you face the potential for harsh penalties if a court convicts you. Like many, you may have some misconceptions about OUI charges that could cause you to make ill-advised decisions about your case. Understanding your chances if you fight the charges may give you a better idea of your options.
OUI charges are worth the fight
The laws and penalties for drunk driving are unlike any other offense. For example, much of the evidence collected for an OUI charge is questionable at best. Unlike evidence for other charges, police do not preserve OUI evidence so an independent lab can analyze it. Additionally, the evidence an officer collects to charge you is often subjective, yet a court will accept it as proof that you committed a crime. Some examples of faulty evidence include the following:
- A breathalyzer machine may have been poorly calibrated or used by an untrained officer.
- Substances in your body or in the environment can skew the results of a breath test.
- Officer observation of red eyes or other signs of impairment could indicate allergies or other causes besides alcohol consumption.
- Field sobriety tests to determine probable cause are tasks that are often impossible to pass and are judged by an officer’s observations.
If your attorney does not see merit in challenging evidence that you were driving under the influence, you may wish to consult with another attorney who will take your case seriously. That is because the ramifications of a conviction can change your life. Even a first conviction for which you may serve no jail time will remain on your criminal record placing you at risk of these and other complications:
- If you are a college student, you may lose scholarships or even face suspension.
- You may lose essential benefits such as unemployment.
- If you serve in the military, you face penalties ranging from mandated alcohol education to summary discharge.
- Your professional license is at stake, and you risk censure before the board that regulates your field of work.
- Your car insurance rates will soar.
- You may have difficulty finding work or obtaining credit.
OUI cases are not easy to win, but to accept the myth that they cannot be won is to place yourself and your family at risk of years of struggle. Your safest path is to find a Massachusetts attorney who has experience defending OUI charges and who understands the seriousness of the charges and the potential penalties.