OUI defense lawyers will tell you they will work for the best legal result in your case. Of course, having the charges dropped or being acquitted is usually the best legal outcome, but it is not always possible.
In other cases, a continuance without a finding (CWOF) is the best outcome in your OUI case. Here is what you need to know about a CWOF and how it may affect your OUI case.
You Are Admitting That the Evidence Against You Is Sufficient to Find You Guilty
If you and your attorney decide to submit a CWOF plea to the Court, you are not technically pleading guilty. Instead, you are admitting that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that you are guilty of an OUI charge. However, if the Court accepts this plea, the finding of guilt is continued (as the name suggests) for a one-year term of probation.
During this period of probation, you will be ordered to pay all statutory fines and fees, a monthly probation supervision fee, and complete the 24D Driving Program. You will also lose your license for 45 days starting on the date of the plea. Lastly, you cannot be charge with any other criminal offense during this period of probation. This type of probation is considered administrative and does not require you to report to a probation officer in person. In some cases, the Court may also order you remain alcohol free and be subjected to random testing.
Dismissal at the End of CWOF Probation
If you complete all your requirements of probation, a CWOF will be converted to a “dismissal” on your criminal record. However, if you are charged with an OUI offense again in the future, this CWOF will count as a conviction, and you will be prosecutor for a Second Offense OUI.
A CWOF is only available for first-time OUI offenses under Section 24D of Title XIV Chapter 90. In certain cases, subject to the Judge, it may also be available for a Second Offense OUI if your prior OUI charge was over 10 years ago, under Commonwealth v. Cahill.
A CWOF could also have ramifications if you are being sued in a civil case since you are admitting that there is evidence against you.
A CWOF May Still Have Impacts on Your Future
Even though there is not a guilty finding, a CWOF is still a criminal matter and could impact other areas of your life. For example, a CWOF can negatively impact your immigration status and affect your child custody matter. Depending on the depth of a background check, potential employers and others can find this on your record, even if you do not have a criminal record.
Always Speak to an Experienced Attorney First
Before you enter into any plea, you should discuss the matter with an experienced lawyer.
It is good practice to never take a plea deal immediately (even if it seems like a good deal) without first consulting with a lawyer. A CWOF may or may not be a good deal in your case. If the prosecution does not have the necessary evidence to convict you, or if your rights were violated, a CWOF would not be in your best interest. Make sure that you speak to a lawyer and provide them with your side of the story. They will review the evidence and help you decide what would be right for you.
You do not necessarily need to reach a deal with the prosecutor to get a CWOF. In some cases, the prosecutor is seeking a more severe sentence, and you may decide to take your case to court. The judge could decide on a CWOF without the prosecutor’s consent.
Contact a New Bedford OUI Attorney Today
When you have been arrested for an OUI, time is of the essence in getting legal help. Your immediate call should be to an experienced attorney, and you should choose McCormack Law for your case. Ashley knows how the OUI system works, and we will defend you with diligence and compassion.
Our law firm offers free consultations. To schedule one, you should call us today at (508) 252-8542 or contact us online.
Massachusetts DUI FAQs
What are the penalties for a first-time OUI conviction in Massachusetts?
While a typical first offense case results in either probation or a $500 fine, you could still face potential jail time of up to 2 ½ years and up to a one year license suspension.
What are the penalties for a second OUI Conviction in Massachusetts?
The jail time for a second OUI conviction ranges from 60 days to 2 ½ years. You will also lose your license.
Do I need an OUI attorney?
There is no legal requirement, but given the possibility of jail time and the serious consequences, you should always have legal help. There is too much at risk to try to handle this on your own.