With 200 plus jury trials and over 19 years of legal representation, The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. are proud to serve as legal counsel for local residents for any OUI or OUI and drugs offenses. With the OUI penalties that are enforced by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, especially in a college town such as Northampton, it is vital that you seek the assistance of a proven Northampton OUI lawyer. Without an accomplished advocate, your chances for a favorable outcome to your case are greatly diminished.
For nearly 2 decades, our focus on OUI charges including first time, multiple, out of state, OUI with injury and related offenses has allowed us to assist many individuals in a time of great need. At our firm, we limit the amount of cases that we defend. We do this so that when we take your case, you know we are committed to putting in the time and effort needed to ensure your rights are safeguarded. We strive to produce the most favorable results possible out of difficult situations.
Our lead attorney is a member of the National Criminal Defense Association, a former instructor at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Western Massachusetts and has tried cases in Massachusetts District Courts, Superior Courts and the United States Federal Court. Added to this is 4 years as an Assistant District Attorney in Hampden County. That experience means that your counsel has seen from the inside how the police go about gathering and storing evidence in criminal cases. It also provides you with an attorney who has been on the "other side," prosecuting cases. This knowledge can be instrumental when it comes to negotiations to reduce the charges against you or move that they be dismissed. It can also be vital if your case goes to trial and a jury must decide your fate.
In addition to defending the criminal case against you, we are determined advocates when it comes to important matters such as RMV hearings, driver's license restoration and the expungement or sealing of criminal records if you have been convicted for an OUI in the past. While we prefer to concentrate on how to best defend your case, we know that many people have questions as to the possible penalties that they now face.
OUI penalties vary on the exact crime you are charged with, citations on your driving record and any prior history of OUI convictions. If you are a multiple offender, the passing of Melanie's Law in 2005 makes it mandatory that your vehicle be equipped with an ignition interlock device. Also, if you are seeking to restore your license after a suspension period, you can be required to pay for the installation of the device. This can encompass not only vehicles you own but any that you lease or drive, including a spouse's car.
If you refused to take a breath or blood test, you are not allowed a temporary driver's license and your license will have been automatically taken by the arresting officer. For drivers over the age of 21, a first time offense will result in a license suspension of 180 days. One prior conviction will be punished by a 3 year suspension and for 2 earlier convictions the time of suspension is 5 years. For individuals who are found guilty 3 or more times, their license will be suspended for life. In all cases, you will have to pay fines from $500.00 to $1200.00 in order to get your driving privileges restored. Additionally, aggravated circumstances in an OUI case, such as leaving the scene or vehicular manslaughter will result in hefty fines in the thousands of dollars if you are found guilty.
Jail or prison sentences vary according to the gravity of the crime you are charged with and your record. They can range from days in jail to many years in state prison.
Fortunately, there are many proven defenses against OUI charges. Breath tests are prone to error if the devices used to take them are not properly maintained or correctly calibrated. If a breathalyzer reads on something other than ethyl alcohol, you can be falsely accused of being intoxicated. Blood samples must be correctly drawn, handled and stored and the results analyzed properly. When a blood sample becomes contaminated or fermented, the results can be inaccurate and you should not be convicted based on this evidence. These are only a few examples of the areas a knowledgeable attorney can explore in order to provide you with an exceptional defense.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for OUI, don't hesitate to contact a Northampton OUI attorney from our firm.