Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OUI, DWI, or DUI)

Someone is “under the influence” whenever he/she has consumed enough of it to reduce his/her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely by diminishing his/her alertness, judgment, and ability to respond promptly.

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Chapter 90 Section 24 of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits drivers from operating motor vehicles on public roads when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If individuals charged with OUI have prior convictions for OUI, they may be charged as a subsequent offense and subjected to harsher penalties, including inpatient alcohol treatment and mandatory minimum sentences.

Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol

In order to convict someone of operating under the influence of alcohol, the Commonwealth must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant operated a motor vehicle;
  2. That the defendant did so (on a public way) or (in a place where the public has a right of access) or (in a place where members of the public have access as invitees or licensees); and
  3. That while operating the vehicle, the defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or that at the time of operation, the percent of alcohol in the defendant’s blood was .08 or greater.

 

Breath Test

In Massachusetts, individuals under arrest for operating under the influence of alcohol are offered a breath test. The test may be refused but the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will impose harsher license penalties than if the individual consents to the breath test. The results of the breath test are used against the defendant at trial. However, a defendant’s refusal of the breath test cannot be presented to a jury to suggest guilt.

 

Operating Under the Influence of Drugs

In order to convict someone of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, namely –marihuana, narcotics drugs, depressants, stimulant substances, or the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, the Commonwealth must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant operated a motor vehicle;
  2. That he/she operated it (on a way) or (in a place where the public has right of access) or (in a place where members of the public have access as invitees or licensees); and
  3. That while the defendant was operating the vehicle, he/she was under the influence of a substance as defined in M.G.L. c. 90 sec. 24.

If you are charge with OUI, you may also be charged with other offenses, such as:

If You Have Been Charged With Operating Under the Influence

If you have been charged with Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol, call McCormack Law today to begin preparing your defenses.

NOTE – If you have been charged with an OUI- 3rd offense or greater, the DA’s office is likely to request a Dangerousness Hearing at your arraignment. Learn more here.

 

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