Westfield is on the outer reaches of the most densely populated region in the U.S. As such, the opportunity for OUIs and their consequences is significantly increased. If you have been arrested on any OUI or OUI and drugs charge, retaining a committed Westfield OUI attorney from The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. gives you several distinct advantages. We have over 19 years of experience in representing those charged with OUI offenses ranging from first time, multiple and out of state crimes to leaving the scene and OUI with injury. As with many professions, experience plays a significant role in the final result that is produced. OUI cases rely on specific evidence, known law enforcement procedures and predictable prosecutorial methods. If your lawyer is not intimately familiar with these, mistakes can go unobserved and will not be taken full advantage of. In some cases, it may just take the discovery of an improper police stop to cause the evidence against you to be inadmissible in court. Without sufficient evidence, a prosecutor does not have a viable case.
The lawyer you hire from our firm served as an Assistant District Attorney in Hampden County for 4 years. This first-hand knowledge of law enforcement evidence gathering techniques, coupled with the years spent prosecuting cases gives us a unique perspective in defending your case. We know how prosecutor's cases are put together and what types can be considered "weak" or "strong." Our firm also understands the type of charges which can be negotiated and the actions that can be effective to reduce the OUI penalties you may face.
We take pride in purposefully limiting the number of cases that we take on. By doing so, we are able to provide the level of skilled service that we intend to give our clients. With our firm, your case is not just one of many that we push through the line to completion.
The crucial points of any OUI case are the results of any field sobriety tests that were conducted and chemical tests (breath and blood) that were taken. What happens, though, if the tests themselves are flawed?
Field sobriety tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help law enforcement in detecting individuals who are under the influence of alcohol. The usual tests are the Walk and Turn (WAT), the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and the One-Leg Stand (OLS). At times, you may also be asked to recite the alphabet to test your mental awareness. For many individuals, these tests would be difficult to impossible to pass, no matter if they had consumed alcohol or not. The use of certain medications, existing physical conditions, an individual's age, inability to understand what is being asked, anxiety, the weather and the state of the environment can all cause a person to fail. Also, a test may be wrongly administered which can leave the results in doubt. At best, it is up to the subjective belief of a police officer as to what they observed and the reasons for a failed test. Depending on the circumstances of your case, an experienced lawyer can work to challenge the validity of your results and subsequent law enforcement actions.
Breath and blood tests are used to test blood alcohol concentration or BAC levels. In Massachusetts, a minor can be arrested for a BAC of .02% or more and if a person is 21 or older, the legal limit is .08%. A device called a breathalyzer is used to determine your BAC but if the machine is not properly calibrated or maintained, the results can be in error. In addition, the device can read on substances other than ethyl alcohol which can make a person appear to be intoxicated when they are not. The results from blood tests can become skewed or false if samples are incorrectly taken or improperly maintained. Errors such as not sterilizing the place on your body where the blood was taken or failure to mix samples with the proper amount of anticoagulants and preservatives can all lead to doubtful results.
If you are convicted of an OUI offense, whether it is a first time arrest up to vehicular manslaughter, the penalties can be harsh. Significant fines, loss of driving privileges, a permanent criminal record, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, community service, required enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program and time spent in jail or prison can all be ways in which you are punished.
We have tried over 200 cases at jury trials in criminal defense matters. Although many OUI arrests can be resolved before reaching trial, it is essential to have an accomplished litigator on your side. To learn more about us and the safeguarding of your rights and freedoms, contact an attorney at our firm today.