The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. are proud to have a former Assistant District Attorney for Hampden County as our lead attorney. Our first-hand knowledge of law enforcement actions and methods can give you an important advantage when it comes to negotiating your charges. Although many OUI and OUI with drugs cases can be resolved in a positive manner before they come to court, our experience can also be of significant benefit if your case proceeds to trial. Hampden is the second most populated county in Massachusetts and prosecutors in this district are highly skilled at obtaining OUI convictions. We have tried over 200 cases in jury trials, have 19 years of OUI defense experience and make it a point in our firm to devote substantial time and dedicated effort to each of our cases. We purposefully limit the amount of people we represent so that each of our clients gets the best defense possible.
As a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the National Criminal Defense Association we have tried cases in the Massachusetts District Courts, Superior Courts and the United States Federal Court. When you retain a knowledgeable Hampden County OUI lawyer from our firm, we want you to feel that you have hired someone you can rely on.
We assist local residents whether their arrest is for a first time or multiple OUI, an out of state offense, an OUI with injury or other charges. Two offenses which receive the harshest OUI penalties are leaving the scene of an accident and vehicular manslaughter. Both demand a lawyer who will equal or better the intensity with which these crimes are prosecuted. In the case of leaving the scene, there are 3 different types of crimes with varying punishments. Leaving a scene that caused property damage or leaving a scene that brought about personal injury are both penalized by fines, license suspension of up to 2 years and jail time in terms of weeks or years. Leaving the scene resulting in the death of another is manslaughter by motor vehicle. If you are convicted, it can result in fines up to $5,000, license suspension of 15 years or permanently and imprisonment from 5 to 20 years.
For those who have already been convicted of an OUI crime, we know the requirements to get your records expunged or sealed and how to accomplish this. For many individuals, these actions can bring about a new and much need chapter in their lives.
There are specific factors in OUI cases that require special care and attention. You can request an RMV hearing to get your license reinstated after you have been found guilty of an OUI offense. You can also ask for a hearing if you want to apply for a hardship license or you wish to resolve a breath or blood test refusal. These hearings give us, as your defense firm, our first look at the evidence that will be used in your criminal case. In some cases, our actions will bring about a driver's license restoration. For other clients, a reduction of the term of their license suspension can be achieved. No matter the purpose of your hearing, you do not want to have to face the RMV alone and will want the representation of a committed attorney.
When you were stopped by the police, they may have asked you to perform various field sobriety tests. The results may have eventually led to your arrest. At times, when you have representation from a skilled lawyer, this can be the first place where a prosecutor's case goes aground. For many individuals, these tests would be impossible to pass even without drinking. Age, physical or mental disabilities, certain medications and other factors can all cause a person to fail. It becomes essential that you have an attorney who knows the mistakes that can be made in these tests and how to use these errors to your advantage.
A specific penalty that many individuals find particularly tough is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles they drive. Multiple OUI offenders must have one installed, sometimes for up to 2 years. Failure to follow the requirements of the ignition interlock device program can bring about loss of your driving privileges for 10 years up to life.
Even for a first OUI offense, the penalties can be harsh. For those under 21 it means a minimum loss of your license for at least 210 days and mandatory enrollment in alcohol treatment program. Individuals over the age of 21 face license suspension of 1 year, community service, required attendance in a substance abuse treatment program, fines of up to $5,000 and a jail sentence that can run as long as two and a half years. We urge you to contact an attorney from our firm quickly, so that an effective defense can be prepared for your case.