Commonly, if it is your first time OUI or OUI and drug arrest, you want to know what happens next. You probably also want to understand what you can do to best resolve the charges you face. At times, well-intentioned individuals feel that if they just plead guilty it will all be over sooner and hopefully for the better. Unfortunately, with 19 years of OUI defense experience and over 200 cases brought to trial, attorneys at The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. have rarely seen this strategy work.
The legal process, OUI penalties, the need for driver's license restoration and other factors can make it easy to give in to pressure from law enforcement or prosecutors to plead guilty. This denies you the opportunity to get the charges reduced or dismissed. It also prevents you from being found not-guilty and thus avoid a permanent criminal record, a lengthy license suspension, steep fines, community service and time spent in jail or prison.
The number of fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers in Holyoke was more than 3 times the Massachusetts average. Therefore, law enforcement and prosecutors are motivated to see that any OUI incidents are punished. By meeting with a skilled Holyoke OUI attorney from our firm, you may see that there are many alternatives in an OUI case and the chance to obtain an improved result. Whether you are charged with a multiple OUI, out of state intoxication charges, leaving the scene of an accident or vehicular manslaughter, we know how such cases can be effectively defended. Our lead attorney has tried cases in the Massachusetts District Courts, Superior Courts and the United States Federal Court. This lawyer is a member in good standing of the National Criminal Defense Association and was an Assistant District Attorney in Hampden County from 1990-1994. Our experience gives us a unique understanding of the potential defects in how you were arrested, the way in which law enforcement gathered evidence against you and the strategy a prosecutor will use in your case.
Your arrest causes the initiation of two possible legal actions. One is the criminal case against you and the other is an RMV hearing regarding the restoration of your driving privileges. In each instance, using an accomplished attorney can greatly change what occurs in your case.
RMV hearings can be conducted to address your refusal to take a breath or blood test, used for determining your blood alcohol concentration or BAC. If you need to apply for a hardship license, a hearing before the RMV will also be required. At times, we can get an individual's license restored. For others, the time of license suspension may be challenged and reduced. In all cases we can use the hearing to get a look at the evidence that is being used against you and this can pay dividends in your criminal case.
Once you were stopped and arrested, your criminal case began. One of the first points that we review is whether the police officer that stopped you had probable cause to suspect that you were intoxicated. We also analyze each step of the arrest and BAC testing process in comparison to the requirements of the law. If an officer acted incorrectly, it can result in the charges against you being dismissed. When field sobriety tests were administered to you, we carefully go over what occurred as these are known to be flawed and the results can be questionable. You may have been asked to consent to breath or blood tests to find out your level of intoxication. Blood tests are considered the most reliable evidence but even these can be in error. Incorrectly taken samples or ones that are improperly handled at any time can make the results invalid. If blood ferments or is contaminated, any conclusions that are drawn are in doubt and this may be a weak point in a prosecutor's case. Breath test results can be mistaken from various causes including radio frequency interference, machine malfunction or incorrect administration of the test. Additionally, breathalyzers have been known to read on chemicals other than ethyl alcohol. These possible defenses all require one key element - an attorney with the knowledge and dedication to discover and use the errors.
Once we have fully reviewed all possible evidence, police and witness statements and other pertinent information, we can then work out the best strategy in your case. As opposed to many firms, we limit the amount of cases that we take on in order to give you our full attention and commitment. In some situations, we work to negotiate a plea bargain to remove the possibility of a trial and obtain the best conclusion that can be achieved. Other circumstances dictate that we should move to trial and this is where our courtroom experience can be to your distinct benefit.
When faced with any OUI charge, your first action should be to contact a Holyoke OUI lawyer from our firm to discuss how to favorably resolve your case.