Under our system of law, the prosecution has the burden of proof and must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not need to prove you’re innocent. Even if you had been drinking prior to your OUI arrest does not mean that you will be found guilty.
You should enter a plea of not guilty when you make your initial court appearance, which is called an arraignment. You should consult an attorney and review all the evidence before you consider pleading guilty.
Defenses to an OUI Charge
After your arraignment, your case will be scheduled for one or more pre-trial conferences which are scheduled for the purpose of exchanging evidence and preparing the case for trial. After reviewing all the police reports and other evidence in your case, such as a booking video, breath test results, call logs, 9-1-1 calls, turret tapes, etc., your lawyer can advise as to whether there are any defenses to the case. These may include a motion to dismiss, a motion to suppress the stop of your vehicle, a motion to exclude the breath test, etc.
It may take time to develop your defense, and pleading not guilty at the outset of the case will allow your attorney to build your case. You should never make any quick decisions under the strain of criminal charges.
Your OUI Plea Could Have an Effect on a Civil Case
If you have received an OUI charge as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be sued for personal injury or property damage as a result of the accident. In a civil case such as this, the plaintiff bringing the case would need to prove that you were negligent when you struck their vehicle. Drunk driving is negligent, so one of the possible ramifications of pleading guilty in your OUI case is that you can automatically be found liable in a civil case. This is because when you plead guilty in a criminal case, it can be used as evidence in a civil case and make you automatically liable to pay damages if someone else suffered an injury in the accident.
Contact a New Bedford OUI Attorney
If you have been charged with OUI, you should not try to face the legal system on your own. Law enforcement has too many resources and advantages that can overcome your legal rights without someone to stand up for them.
OUI Conviction FAQs
Is prison time automatic on the first conviction for OUI?
What are the penalties for a second OUI conviction?
A second DUI offense can result in a minimum jail sentence of 60 days in the House of Correction, but this sentence may be suspended. The maximum potential penalty is to two and one-half years and a fine of $600 to $10,000.
What happens if there was a serious bodily injury in an OUI accident?
Serious bodily injury is an aggravating factor that will likely result in jail time and a longer sentence.